NEW YORK (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves and Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn scored second-period goals to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Ross Colton and Mikhail Sergachev added third-period goals for the Lightning, (41-18-6), who have won two straight after a three-game losing streak.
Ilya Sorokin made 18 saves on 20 shots in the first two periods and Semyon Varlamov stopped 12 shots in the third for the Islanders, whose lone goal was scored by Brock Nelson. New York (28-27-9) has dropped two straight.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” said Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier. “We have a good group in there. Good players. We know we can do great things, win big games, (have) big moments.”
Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead late in the first period with his career-high 31st goal. The score came with 1:46 left in the period and was the culmination of a sequence which began when Adam Pelech flipped a lob pass out of New York’s defensive zone to Nelson, who raced down the right side before beating Vasilevskiy high to the glove side.
The Lightning struck back 1:10 into the second on Hedman’s power-play goal to tie the game. Tampa Bay’s cornerstone defenseman accepted a cross-ice pass from Brayden Point, then bolted past Andy Greene before finishing with his 18th of the season.
“We believe in ourselves and believe in the groups that we have.” Hedman said. “Today wasn’t your typical power-play goal (but) we’ll take it.”
Killorn gave Tampa Bay the lead for good 8:37 later, finishing an odd-man rush with his 20th of the season.
“Last night we go down 1-0 with 13 minutes to go and for whatever reason urgency jumped back in our game. We fought our way back into it, won in overtime. And I think a little bit of that momentum carried into today,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I loved our start. We could have been up a couple early. We weren’t and then we fall behind…when things aren’t going as well as you think they can and confidence becomes an issue, that’s when you have to strap the boots on and go back to work. And they did that. Nobody was hanging their heads. That was a big thing for us and (a) good result for us tonight.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau appeared to have tied the game with 14.8 seconds left in the period, but a review revealed that Kyle Palmieri was offside and the on-ice ruling was overturned.
“I didn’t see the replay,” Pageau said. “They (the off-ice officials) looked at it and it was offside. It’s unfortunate.”
The game marked the first time Sorokin and Vasilevskiy had started against each other in their NHL careers, although Sorokin did play against Vasilevskiy twice during last spring’s Eastern Conference final. For two periods, the showdown between star goaltenders lived up to expectations before Varlamov replaced Sorokin at the start of the third period.
New York coach Barry Trotz explained after the game that Sorokin sustained an upper-body injury and it is unclear whether he will travel with the team to Columbus for Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jackets.
Tampa Bay spent swaths of the final 20 minutes storming Varlamov’s crease, and the push paid off when Colton flipped his 12th of the season past New York’s backup goaltender with 9:10 left. Sergachev ended the scoring with 3:04 remaining.
“We had some time in the (offensive) zone,” Sergachev said. “I got a rebound and shot it and got lucky it went in.”
Lightning: Host Carolina on Tuesday night.
Islanders: Visit Columbus on Tuesday night.
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