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Kucherov continues hot start, powers Lightning past Red Wings

Scores in sixth straight to begin season, boosts Tampa Bay to fourth win in row

by Dave Hogg / NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- Nikita Kucherov scored two goals to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to their fourth consecutive win, 3-2 against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Monday.

Kucherov is the fourth NHL player in 30 years to score in each of his team's first six games, joining Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins, 1992), Steve Yzerman (Red Wings, 1988) and Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues, 2008). His seven goals are second in the League behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (nine).

 

[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Red Wings highlights]

 

"I'm not thinking about streaks," Kucherov said. "I just want to help our team. The wins we are getting now will help us a lot over the rest of the season."

Tyler Johnson scored shorthanded for the Lightning (5-1-0), and Steven Stamkos had an assist on each of Kucherov's goals.

"Right now, we're just trying to get him the puck as much as we can," Stamkos said. "He's got so much confidence and he can score in so many different ways."

Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves for Tampa Bay in his sixth straight start.

Video: TBL@DET: Vasilevskiy denies Zetterberg's backhand

"He's been huge for us," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We haven't always been great during these six games, but Andrei has kept us alive when we have a bad stretch."

Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green scored for the Red Wings (4-2-0), who got 23 saves from Jimmy Howard.

Kucherov scored his second of the night at 1:47 of the third period to put the Lightning ahead 3-2. With the puck loose at the edge of the crease, he lunged to tip it between Howard's legs.

"I went to cover the puck, and he poked it past me," Howard said. "He always seems to get timely goals against us. We've got to change that."

The Lightning were ahead 2-0 after the first period but couldn't hold on to the lead.

Johnson gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead, skating past Detroit defenseman Trevor Daley and breaking in to beat Howard at 9:15 while the Lightning were killing a Chris Kunitz cross-checking penalty against Abdelkader.

Kucherov extended his scoring streak and made it 2-0 by beating Howard for a power-play goal at 10:56.

"I thought we were the better team 5-on-5, but they got those two on special teams and we didn't get any," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Detroit was 0-for-6 on the power play.

"We should have had a couple power-play goals," Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "We had the chances but didn't finish."

Abdelkader scored on a penalty shot at 2:30 of the second period to get Detroit within 2-1 after being hooked by Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman on a breakaway.

Video: TBL@DET: Abdelkader goes five-hole on penalty shot

Green tied the game 2-2 at 16:02 of the second, putting his own rebound past Vasilevskiy for his first goal and ninth point of the season.

 

Goal of the game

Johnson appeared to be in an innocent position when he intercepted Gustav Nyquist's pass in the Lightning zone during a Red Wings power play, but he started up ice so quickly that Daley never had a chance to recover, leaving Johnson with a breakaway.

Video: TBL@DET: Johnson opens the scoring with breakaway SHG

 

Save of the game

Vasilevskiy stopped Green's one-timer from above the left hash marks with his right pad at 5:16 of the first period, then slid to his right to block Anthony Mantha's rebound attempt.

Video: TBL@DET: Vasilevskiy turns away Green, Mantha in 1st

 

Highlight of the game

Kucherov received a pass from Hedman above the right face-off circle, skated down to the dot and beat Howard with a top-shelf wrist shot to the short side. "Not too many guys can shoot it like that," Stamkos said. "I don't even think I have that in the repertoire."

Video: TBL@DET: Kucherov roofs laser from the circle for PPG

 

They said it

"That's what a Tampa-Detroit game is usually like: There's not much room and people are hitting on both sides." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"I thought if it wasn't a goal, I had a pretty good chance for a penalty shot, because that's what the ref had told me. I just wanted to make a quick move and take the shot." -- Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader on their first goal

 

Need to know

The Red Wings thought Darren Helm scored to make it a one-goal game at 2:30 of the second period, but the officials ruled Abdelkader interfered with Vasilevskiy after the Lightning goalie denied him on a breakaway. Hedman initially was given a two-minute penalty for hooking Abdelkader on the breakaway, but after the officials conferred, Abdelkader was awarded the penalty shot and became the first Detroit player to score on one since Dec. 15, 2007 (Valtteri Filppula). … Kucherov, Green and Nyquist each had a game-high six shots on goal.

 

What's next

Lightning: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Red Wings: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, TVA Sports, FS-D+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Kucherov's goals lead Bolts to fourth straight win

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