The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up two massive factors within the standings, however might have misplaced three facilities to accidents Thursday night time.
Nikita Kucherov scored two objectives, the primary on an influence play lower than seven minutes into the sport, and the Lightning beat the Minnesota Wild four-1.
Kucherov assisted a objective by Andrej Sustr, giving him 9 objectives and eight assists in his final eight video games. Victor Hedman additionally scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves. Vasilevskiy is four-zero-1 because the commerce of Ben Bishop to Los Angeles, and the Lightning are 9-2-three of their final 14 video games.
“We will want extra efforts like this one to get in (the playoffs),” Hedman stated, “however clearly it is a step in the appropriate path.”
Marco Scandella scored for Minnesota with three:fifty eight remaining, solely the Wild’s second objective in regulation of their final three video games. Western Convention-main Minnesota has misplaced three of 4 for the primary time since early December. The loss additionally broke the Wild’s streak of 10 straight wins after a loss.
Seven seconds after a tripping penalty on Ryan Suter, Kucherov scored his twenty ninth aim of the season with assists from Ondrej Palat and Hedman. It was the primary energy-play aim towards Minnesota in 12 video games, ending a streak of twenty-two penalties killed.
Hedman made it 2-zero at eleven:01 of the primary interval, scoring his thirteenth objective with assists from Jonathan Drouin and Jake Dotchin.
Sustr’s objective, his second of the season, got here at four:37 of the second interval. It was assisted by Kucherov and Tyler Johnson, who was helped off the ice 4 minutes later. Vladislav Namestnikov additionally left the sport with an damage and Cedric Paquette was taken off with a left ankle damage halfway via the third interval. These have been sobering sights for a staff making an attempt to make a late run for a playoff spot.
“It places a number of strain on different guys and it is by no means enjoyable to see, to observe guys in ache and being carried off like that,” defenseman Anton Stralman stated.
“It does not sound encouraging for any of them, however . . . we’ll see tomorrow,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper stated. “If we obtained one in every of them for Saturday, that may be a blessing.”
Wild C Ryan White performed in his three hundredth recreation. . . . D Matt Dumba (sickness) missed his second straight recreation. … D Christian Follin (higher physique) is out. … Lightning C Steven Stamkos (knee) continues to follow however no date is about for his return. … RW Ryan Callahan (decrease physique) didn’t play.
Wild: Play at Florida on Friday night time within the second recreation of a 5-recreation journey.
Lightning: Play at house towards Florida on Saturday night time of their last assembly of the season towards the Panthers.