DALLAS (AP) — Brayden Point had a goal, an assist and the shootout winner, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning recover from a late meltdown to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 Tuesday night for their third win in three tries this season in rematches of last year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 24 shots in his ninth straight victory, Mathieu Joseph and Steven Stamkos scored in regulation and rookie Ross Colton also scored in the shootout for Tampa Bay, which vaulted from third place to first in the Central Division.
Vasilevskiy shut out the Stars in his three previous outings against them, beginning with the clinching game of last season’s Final. He closed out this win by stopping Alexander Radulov in the third round of the shootout.
Coming off a home loss to Nashville on Monday, the Lightning are 3-0-1 in the finales of back-to-backs. They’re 16-0-0 when leading after two periods and 11-2-1 when they score first.
They reach the midpoint of their season with 42 points, tied for the most in the league.
“We want to push for the playoffs and push to be a really good hockey team again like we did last post-season,” said Pat Maroon, who has won Cups the past two seasons with St. Louis and Tampa Bay.
Miro Heiskanen and Jamie Benn each had a goal and an assist, Radulov also scored in regulation and rookie Jake Oettinger stopped 33 shots for the Stars, who are 1-1-2 in their last four games. Benn and Radulov each scored in the final three minutes with an extra skater on as Dallas forced overtime.
Joe Pavelski and rookie Jason Robertson had two assists each, and Robertson had Dallas’ only shootout score.
Dallas is seventh in the Central Division, eight points behind fourth-place Chicago with five games in hand.
“Great point,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We needed it. Any point you can get when you’re chasing your playoff position is important, especially when you’re down 3-1.”
Point took an outlet pass from Andrej Palat, sneaked behind Dallas’ top defensive pair and scored his 11th goal of the season at 3:55 of the first period on a backhand that trickled between the pads of Oettinger, who made a third straight NHL start for the first time.
Dallas ended its drought against the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy winner after more than 209 minutes when Heiskanen, beside the crease, buried a rebound on a power play at 9:05 of the second period for his third goal of the season.
Tampa Bay regained the lead at 14:20 of the second when Maroon won a puck battle in the trapezoid and fed Joseph in the slot for a one-timer, his seventh of the year.
Stamkos’ power-play slap shot from the left circle at 11:49 of the third period, his team-leading 14th goal of the season, gave the Lightning a two-goal cushion.
WELCOME TO 500 CLUB
Victor Hedman assisted on Stamkos’ goal for his 500th career point.
“Good things happen when you try to find (No.) 91 for a one-timer,” said Hedman, who went into play leading NHL defensemen in power-play points with 16. “It’s one of those things that you really don’t pay attention to until it’s close.”
“Five-hundred of anything is quite a milestone,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “To me, he’s one of the best if not the best defenseman in the league.”
KID COMES THROUGH
Colton, playing only his fourth NHL game, recorded his second career point by assisting on Joseph’s goal and then buried Tampa Bay’s first shootout attempt.
“I call a guy’s number in the shootout because I think they’re going to score,” Cooper said. “He’s a pretty gutty kid.”
The 19 first-period Tampa Bay shots were the most in a period this season for the NHL’s highest scoring team (3.63 goals per game). … Roope Hintz, Dallas’ No. 2 goal scorer with seven, didn’t dress for the sixth time in the past 12 games because of a lower-body injury. … Tuesday’s game was rescheduled from Feb. 20, postponed because of the weather-power-water emergency in north Texas.
Lightning: Begin a three-game homestand on Thursday against Chicago.
Stars: Open a two-game series at Detroit on Thursday.
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