Kucherov contributes 3 helpers as Lightning level series with Islanders

Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat delivered early goals and NHL playoff scoring leader Nikita Kucherov had three more assists to help the Tampa Bay Lightning rebound from a series-opening loss and beat the New York Islanders 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup semifinals on Tuesday night.

Kucherov had his fourth game with three or more points this postseason, assisting on goals by Point, Palat and Victor Hedman. The defending champions improved to 12-0 in games following a playoff loss since start of last year’s title run.

Point scored a goal for the fifth straight game, hiking his league-leading playoff total to 10. Palat put Tampa Bay ahead for good with a second-period goal that replays showed was scored with the Lightning having too many men on the ice.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, stopped 24 of 26 shots for the Lightning, who entered Tuesday night facing a series deficit for the first time since dropping Game 1 of last year’s Stanley Cup final against the Dallas Stars.

WATCH | Islanders’ Varlamov exits for remainder of 1st frame after collision:

Tampa Bay forward Brayden Point is pushed by Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech. Point collides into Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov who is shaken up on the play. Varlamov would have to leave the game but would return for the start of the 2nd period. Point is given a penalty and the Lightning would go on to score on the resulting power-play. 1:33

Hedman and Jan Rutta scored in the third period against Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, who missed a portion of the opening period after a collision with Point a little over 13 minutes into the game.

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal scored unassisted goals for New York, which — despite the loss — will return home feeling good about itself heading into Game 3 Thursday night.

Point, pushed from behind by New York’s Adam Pelech, barreled into Varlamov at 6:50 of the first period. The Lightning star drew a penalty for interference on the goalie, and the Islanders wasted no time taking advantage of what Tampa Bay felt was a questionable call.

Nelson’s goal from in front of the net tied it 1-1 just 20 seconds into the power play.

Ilya Sorokin replaced Varlamov for the remainder of the first period.

WATCH | Goaltenders at forefront of NHL playoff picture:

Playoffs are proving what most hockey fans already know, you need solid goaltending to win a Stanley Cup. 3:46

View original article here Source