Kucherov goal with 57 seconds left lifts Lightning past Sharks
SAN JOSE — Nikita Kucherov scored with 57 seconds left in the third period to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.
Brayden Point started the game-winning play when he rushed up the left wing, passed cross-ice to the right circle to Brandon Hagel, who set up Kucherov in front. Kucherov extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, eight assists).
Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (5-4-0), who have won two in a row and four of five. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves.
“When you come to the West Coast you always want to win and get more points than games played and we did a good job with that,” Killorn said.
Tampa Bay went 2-1-0 on a three-game California trip.
“I take this as a success,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It’s been a tough start with all these road games we’ve played so let’s go home and see if you can string a few [wins] together.”
Erik Karlsson scored twice for the Sharks (3-8-0), who have lost two of three. James Reimer made 22 saves.
“We weren’t afraid of losing today,” Karlsson said. “We did, and it hurts. And we’re disappointed. I think one of the problems here lately has been that we’ve been a little bit too afraid to make mistakes and a little bit too afraid to try and win games. And in order to win games in this League, you’re gonna have to take some risks. Over time, we’re going to [have to] learn when those risks are appropriate to take and when they’re not.”
Victor Hedman made it 1-0 Lightning 32 seconds into the first period. The defenseman scored on Tampa Bay’s first shot of the game after he was set up by Point.
Karlsson tied it 1-1 at 1:22 on a wrist shot from between the face-off circles.
“He’s a very special player,” Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said of Karlsson. “He’s very important for our team. He’s a leader, especially in the way he plays and that’s what we need. We expect nothing less.”
Ross Colton made it 2-1 at 13:44. Killorn set up Colton for a wrist shot just as the Lightning’s first power play of the game expired.
Nico Sturm tied it back up 2-2 at 5:36 of the second period with a snipe shot.
Killorn put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2 at 18:41 when he beat Reimer five hole.
Karlsson’s second goal tied it 3-3 at 4:34 of the third period. San Jose had just gone on the power play when the defenseman’s shot through traffic got past Vasilevskiy.
“I think we’re going in the right direction, but at the end of the day you’ve got to win hockey games,” Sharks coach David Quinn said. “And, unfortunately, we’re not quite there yet.”
NOTES: Kucherov has put together a point streak of seven or more games for the 13th time in his career. … Karlsson is the first defenseman in the NHL this season to reach the 10-point mark (11 points; six goals, five assists in 10 games). It is the first time in his 14 NHL that he is the first defenseman to 10 points in a season by date.