TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — When Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are piling up points, the Tampa Bay Lightning are tough to stop.
Stamkos had two goals and an assist, Kucherov added a goal and three assists and the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars 6-0 Thursday night.
Tampa Bay scored at least six goals for the 14th time this season against a Dallas team that had allowed the second fewest goals in the league.
“We just came out hard and want to play our way and stick to our structure,” said Kucherov, who has 11 points in his past three games. “Good things happen when we play the right way and it paid off.”
Tyler Johnson, Mikhail Sergachev and Alex Killorn also scored to help the Lightning improve to 6-0-2 in the last eight games and reach 90 points in 58 games this season. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots for his fifth shutout of the season — second against Dallas — and 17th of his career to tie Ben Bishop for most in team history.
“Every time we made a mistake or a bounce went their way they made us pay,” Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said. “You’ve got to tip your hat, that’s a really good hockey team. Anytime we did break through they’ve got a brick wall back there.”
Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin was pulled from the game twice, allowing five goals on 21 shots. Landon Bow finished with four saves in 27:07 of ice time for the Stars, who fell to 1-2-1 in the past four games to drop to the top wild card spot in the Western Conference behind St. Louis.
“I liked our effort, I didn’t love our puck management but we’ll get better from this,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to learn from this. … We will get better from this.”
Tampa Bay had four goals on the board in a span of 7:21 in the opening period and never looked back, led by Kucherov’s sixth game with at least four points. That is the most four-point games through 58 team games by a player since Ilya Kovalchuk had the same amount in 2005-06. Only Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr have had more since 1994-95.
Kucherov is also the first player in franchise history to reach the 90-point mark before the 60th game of the season and is the fifth player in the NHL to do so since 1998-99. Kucherov is also the first player in franchise history to record at least three points in three consecutive games.
“When he’s feeling it he’s so fun to watch,” Stamkos said of Kucherov. “He’s a huge part of our offensive success.”
NOTES: Bishop practiced with the Stars on Thursday but missed his fourth consecutive game with an undisclosed lower body injury. Montgomery said Bishop was “50-50” to play on Saturday at Carolina. … Tampa Bay D Erik Cernak missed his second consecutive game with an undisclosed lower-body injury. … Johnson recorded the fourth 20-goal season of his career. … Tampa Bay’s four goals in the first period tied a season high. … Dallas D John Klingberg did not play the final 13:45 of the game after blocking a shot and will be re-evaluated on Friday. . Stars’ LW Blake Comeau missed the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury but Montgomery said Comeau is “probable” against Carolina.
Lightning: Host Montreal on Saturday.
Stars: At Carolina on Saturday.
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