Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov pushed his playoff total to an NHL-best 30 points with two scores in a win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday in Tampa, Fla. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
June 29 (UPI) -- Nikita Kucherov scored twice and Brayden Point assisted three goals to spark the Tampa Bay Lightning's prolific offense in a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy recorded 18 saves in the victory Monday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
"We stuck to our game plan and that's what is working," Kucherov told reporters. "Coaches tell us what to do and we are doing a hell of a job listening to them.
"We just put the puck deep and go get it."
Point help set up the first goal 6:19 into the first period. The star center intercepted a pass deep in Lightning territory to spark the score. He then fed defenseman Erik Cernak.
Cernak passed on to Ondrej Palat, who skated left and sent a pass back to the defenseman. Cernak finished the play with a backhanded shot over netminder Carey Price's left shoulder.
Lightning center Yanni Gourde doubled the lead 5:47 into the second. Defenseman Ben Chiarot scored the Canadiens' only goal with 2:20 remaining in the bridge frame.
Kucherov lit the lamp for his sixth score this postseason two minutes into the third. That score came in transition when defenseman Mikhail Sergachev stole the puck at center ice.
Sergachev fired a quick pass to Kucherov near the right circle. Kucherov fired the puck in front of the net, where it was deflected in by Palat, but the Lightning right wing got credit for the score.
Kucherov scored agame about nine minutes later. That score started with a faceoff. Point sent a pass back, between his own legs, to find Kucherov. The Lightning winger put the puck on his stick, skated left and fired a quick speedy wrister past Price.
Lightning center Steven Stamkos scored the final goal with a one-timer past Price with 1:10 remaining.
"We had a one-goal lead going into the third, just like in Game 7 the other night," Stamkos told reporters. "We [thought] let's attack, let's go and keep the pressure on and we got rewarded."
The Lightning host the Canadiens in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Amalie Arena. The game airs on NBCSN.