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Top line leads Lightning to win over Islanders

Kucherov and Point both register multi-point nights as the Bolts defeated the Isles 3-1 to push their winning streak to six games

by Jacob Lynn @TBLightning /

The Lightning's winning ways continued on Saturday night against the Islanders.

Behind a strong night from the top line and a steady performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Bolts defeated the Isles 3-1 to extend their winning streak to six games.

The key sequence in the game came in the final minute of the first period and in the first minute of the second.

At the very end of the opening period, Mathew Barzal slipped the puck past Vasilevskiy on the short side. The Lightning immediately challenged and it was quickly deemed that Barzal had entered the offensive zone prior to the puck.

Video: NYI@TBL: Point fires slap shot on a rush in the 2nd

With the goal waved off and the game scoreless through 20 minutes, Brayden Point quickly netted his 20th goal of the year in the first minute of the second period. Nikita Kucherov sprung him on a breakaway and Point beat Semyon Varlamov with a hard slapshot to the blocker side.

Carter Verhaeghe doubled Tampa Bay's lead early in the third period, working down low before slipping the puck past Varlamov on a backhand.

Derick Brassard responded for the Islanders, getting them on the board midway through the period with a power play goal. Josh Bailey fired a pass into the crease that Stepan was able to deflect past Vasilevskiy to tighten things up at 2-1.

The goal seemed to ignite the Islanders, as the Bolts spent the majority of the final minutes defending an intense push. New York's best chance to tie the game came with just over three minutes remaining in regulation when Nick Leddy fed Bailey in the slot for a one-timer that Vasilevskiy just got a piece of with his right pad.

Steven Stamkos answered with an empty net goal minutes later to put the game out of reach for the Isles.

Video: NYI@TBL: Stamkos adds empty-netter late in regulation

For the most part Vaslievskiy didn't face a ton of pressure, finishing the night with 17 saves on 18 shots faced. He got some help from the skaters in front of him, most notably Anthony Cirelli backchecking hard to take the puck off Barzal's stick when he was coming in on a clean breakaway in the second period.

In addition to the winning streak, several Bolts players grew personal point streaks. Vasilevskiy now has led the Bolts to points in 18-straight starts, improving on his own franchise record. All three members of the Lightning's top line also extended point streaks, with Stamkos and Kucherov having 10 game streaks and Point at six games.

After bad losses of 5-2 and 5-1 to the Islanders early in the season, Saturday's win was a nice rebound in the final regular season matchup between the clubs.

The Bolts will now hit the road for a quick back-to-back on Monday and Tuesday in Columbus and Pittsburgh.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
No Scoring

2nd Period
TBL | 0:14 Brayden Point (20) - Nikita Kucherov

3rd Period
TBL | 6:25 Carter Verhaeghe (7) - Yanni Gourde, Mitchell Stephens
NYI | 12:12 Derick Brassard (10) - Josh Baily, Anthony Beauvillier - PPG
TBL | 18:58 Steven Stamkos (26) - Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov - EN  

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