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Kucherov, Point pace Lightning to win over Flames

Kucherov, Point pace Lightning to win over Flames
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NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists, Brayden Point added a goal and two assists, and the Lightning beat the Calgary Flames 6-3 on Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy reaches back to make a save against Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Jankowski during third period action in Tampa.  (Mike Carlson / AP)

Kucherov has 88 points, including seven over his last two games after going a pair of games without getting on the scoresheet.

“He has that ability to find guys even when I don’t think guys know they’re open,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

Kucherov has a career-high 63 assists. He stopped a 10-game goal drought with a pair Sunday in a 5-2 win at Florida.

“Good to see we got two games with ‘W’s,’” Kucherov said. “That’s better.”

Kucherov and Point (72) are the second pair of Tampa Bay teammates to reach 70 points in 57 team games. Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier did it in 2006-07.

Cedric Paquette, Anthony Cirelli, Yanni Gourde and Steven Stamkos also scored for the NHL-leading Lightning, who are 5-0-2 over the last seven games. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves.

“We’ve got the top guys going and we’re getting scoring from the other guys as well,” Stamkos said. “So, that’s a pretty dangerous combination to have.”

Calgary, 1-3-1 in its last five games, got two goals from Sean Monahan. Mark Giordano had the other Flames goal, and David Rittich stopped 21 shots.

“Pretty disappointing with letting that one go the way it did,” Giordano said. “Our details weren’t where they needed to be. We’ve got to be a lot sharper and its starts with me and the leaders and the older guys and it trickles down.”

Monahan didn’t have a goal in his previous five games. Teammates Matthew Tkachuk (eight) and Johnny Gaudreau (six) remain in goal droughts. The trio has combined to score 82 goals.

Point scored his career-high 33rd goal to open the scoring 11:54 into the game.

Point’s goal came shortly after Vasilevskiy made a save on Elias Lindholm’s short-handed breakaway.

Lindholm had three assists, while Gaudreau added two.

After Paquette scored at 16:06 of the first, Kucherov made it 3-0 just 1:13 later.

Giordano cut the Flames’ deficit to 3-1 during a 5-on-3 power play 47 seconds after Kucherov’s goal. The 35-year old became the 10th defenceman in NHL history to have 55 or more points at age 35 or older.

Calgary pulled within 3-2 on Monahan’s goal at 9:13 of the second, but Tampa Bay responded 57 seconds later when Cirelli scored.

“It’s a huge shift,” Giordano said. “It’s a big part of the game. Obviously you want to grab momentum when you’re back in it.”
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