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game recap

Vasilevskiy sets Lightning point record in win against Penguins

Makes 29 saves for longest streak by goalie with 17; Kucherov has goal, assist for Tampa Bay

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

Stamkos cashes in on 2-on-1 rush

PIT@TBL: Point, Stamkos connect for pretty goal

Steven Stamkos takes Brayden Point's return feed on a 2-on-1 rush and hammers it into the net, doubling the Lightning's lead in the 1st

  • 00:47 •

TAMPA -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves and set a Tampa Bay Lightning record for the longest point streak by a goalie in a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Vasilevskiy is 15-0-2 in his past 17 starts. He was tied with Nikolai Khabibulin, who went 12-0-4 (ties) from Feb. 15 to April 2, 2003. 

"Obviously he's the best goalie in the world, in my opinion," Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev said. "He works so hard on [his game] in every practice. He's great for us."


[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Lightning highlights]


Vasilevskiy made 10 saves in the third period and was at his best during a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 1:34 with Tampa Bay ahead 3-2.

He made the save on a Kris Letang slap shot with 8:16 remaining and kicked the puck to the boards during a scramble in the crease after Bryan Rust hit the post.

"You'd like to see us score a goal when we got that 5-on-3 opportunity," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's an important point in the game. We've got to work to improve in those areas."

Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist in his 500th NHL game, and Victor Hedman had three assists for the Lightning (34-15-5), who have won five straight. 

Video: PIT@TBL: Kucherov flings empty-netter to seal win

Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, and Matt Murray made 25 saves for the Penguins (33-15-5), who had won eight of 10.

"I think we battled hard and recovered from the first period where it kind of felt like they had us on our heels," Murray said. "But other than that, we battled hard and it's just unfortunate we came up short."

Sergachev gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 9:04 of the first period with a shot that hit the stick of Penguins forward Sam Lafferty and knuckled past Murray. 

Video: PIT@TBL: Sergachev whips puck home for opening goal

Steven Stamkos made it 2-0 at 12:55 with his 25th goal of the season off a pass from Brayden Point.

"They got off to a good start so we had to match their work ethic," Sergachev said. "Our skating took over and we were able to score a couple of goals."

Malkin made it 2-1 at 9:25 of the second period after a shot from Hornqvist deflected off his leg. 

Video: PIT@TBL: Hornqvist's pass banks in off Malkin

Anthony Cirelli increased the lead to 3-1 at 9:57 with a shot to the far post. 

"Good play by [Hedman]," Cirelli said. "[Tyler Johnson] with a good net drive and I just put it on net and it just went in."

John Marino brought the Penguins within 3-2 at 3:20 of the third period with a shot from the slot off a pass from Malkin, but the Penguins couldn't score on the 5-on-3 and finished 0-for-5 on the power play.

"I think when we get an opportunity like that and time like that we need to settle down and make some plays," Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. "Like I said, those are key points in the game."

Video: PIT@TBL: Marino buries Malkin's dish to trim deficit

Kucherov scored into an empty net with 33 seconds remaining for the 4-2 final.

Marino left the game at 15:50 of the third period after taking a puck to the face from a shot by Stamkos. Sullivan said he was being evaluated.

Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh left early in the second period after taking a slap shot off his ankle. Coach Jon Cooper said it might not be as bad as it looked but had no further information.

Tampa Bay lost defenseman Jan Rutta on Tuesday with a lower-body injury and he is expected to be out several weeks.

"I think we did a good job [with five defensemen], it was still fresh in our minds after Rutta went down in the last game, and [McDonagh] today," Hedman said. "Very happy with the five guys who had to finish it off."


They said it

"We've got to do a better job. There's a framework and I think we get a little bit stagnant. If you ask me one thing that I think we could get better at, I think we create a little more movement, a little bit more deception, and I think that will help us." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on the power play

"We are getting in front of shots, guys are making their clears and then [Vasilevskiy] has been huge, the goaltending has been great for us. When you have that combination going, usually good things happen." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper on the penalty kill


Need to know

Kucherov has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) during a nine-game point streak. … Stamkos has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) during a nine-game point streak. … Hedman has five games with at least three points this season. … Crosby won 20 of 32 face-offs (62.5 percent) … Letang had an assist and a season-high nine shots on goal. … Malkin has 53 points (24 goals, 29 assists) in 39 games against Tampa Bay.


What's next

Penguins: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-F, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Lightning: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SUN, MSG+ 2, NHL.TV)

Video: Vasilevskiy sets team record in Lightning's 4-2 win

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