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Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018
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Lightning beats Leafs in shootout

TAMPA — The Lightning played most of Monday's game without leading scorer RW Nikita Kucherov and the last few minutes of regulation without C Tyler Johnson, and it didn't matter.

In the end, the game came down to C Brayden Point, who scored the only goal during the shootout to give the Lightning a 4-3 victory against the Maple Leafs in what felt like a playoff game.

"It was definitely playoff emotion-type of game," C Yanni Gourde said.
The Lightning (43-17-3) increased its lead over the second-place Leafs (39-20-6) to six points.

"I think our guys did a great job rallying together short a couple of players up front," said LW Chris Kunitz, who scored a first-period goal. "Our goalie was once again the best player on the ice, making big stops before we even got to the shootout."

Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots, including a penalty shot by Mitch Marner with 6:02 to play in regulation and the score tied at 3.

Kucherov, who leads the NHL with 82 points, left in the first period with an upper-body injury that does not appear serious. He could return as soon as Wednesday's home game against the Sabres.

Johnson, who scored in the second period, was helped off the ice late in the third but returned for the 3-on-3 overtime.

As he did Saturday in Montreal, Point lifted the Lightning to victory with a shootout goal.

"I think he's a big-game player," Kunitz said. "I think he likes the willingness to go score goals. I don't think everybody has that same knack to maybe want to be a difference-maker. Everybody plays the game, but some guys think it a little different."


The moment Canada's TSN started its around-the-clock trade deadline coverage Monday morning, Lightning C Vladislav Namestnikov's name popped on the side of the screen as a player who is "on the block."
That comes with the territory around deadline day, especially with Sportsnet reporting over the weekend the Senators were pushing for a rostered player like Namestnikov in any Erik Karlsson deal.

"You try to stay away from it," Namestnikov said. "It's part of the business and things happen."

It happened for Namestnikov, who was traded by the 3 p.m. Monday deadline to the Rangers for D Ryan McDonagh and C J.T. Miller.

Kucherov, Vasilevskiy and Namestnikov stayed up past midnight Saturday to watch Russia win Olympic gold in men's hockey. … D Jake Dotchin was scratched Monday for the seventh time in the past eight games. … C Tomas Plekanec, acquired by the Leafs from Montreal on Sunday, played Monday.

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Lightning beats Leafs in shootout