Tampa Bay Lightning take over top spot by beating St. Louis Blues

By Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 11:40 PM
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ST. LOUIS -- Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov each scored a goal and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to their fifth consecutive win Tuesday night, a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

The win moved the Lightning (22-6-2) into sole possession of the top spot in the NHL standings, breaking a tie with the Blues, and it snapped a four-game winning streak for the Blues (21-9-2).

Point's 13th goal of the season came with just 45 seconds left in the first period. He took a pass from Tyler Johnson from behind the net and fired a shot off the post but then gathered in the rebound and his second shot beat goalie Jake Allen.

The goal extended Point's goal-scoring streak to a career-high four games.

Vasilevskiy protected the 1-0 lead until Kucherov added his 21st of the season at 13:37 of the third period. Johnson added an empty-net goal with 22 seconds to play.

Vasilevskiy recorded his third shutout of the season and seventh of his career. The win was his 20th of the year coming in his 25th game.

Vasilevskiy had to make several big saves, but the Blues also misfired on several occasions, including twice when Vladimir Tarasenko was on a 2-on-1 break in the second period but could not convert. Vladimir Sobotka also missed a wide-open net midway through the third period.

The Blues were shut out for the third time this season, all of which have been at home.

The Lightning also broke a five-game losing streak in St. Louis with their first win on the road against the Blues since Dec. 18, 2009.

The Blues had kept it a 1-0 game by killing off three power plays by the Lightning, who had scored at least one power-play goal in 14 of their previous 15 games and have the top-ranked power play in the league.

The Lightning won the first game of the season between the two teams 2-1 in Tampa on Oct. 14.

NOTES: The Blues placed D Alex Pietrangelo on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury, meaning he will be out at least a week. ... D Jordan Schmaltz was recalled from San Antonio of the AHL and was in the lineup as D Jay Bouwmeester also was scratched because of what was described as a "nagging" injury. ... RW Sammy Blais also was sent back to San Antonio. ... Lightning D Braydon Coburn (undisclosed injury) participated in the morning skate, and the team hopes he can play later on their road trip, which continues Thursday night at Arizona. ... The Blues' homestand continues Thursday night against Anaheim.

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