Kucherov scores 2, lifts Lightning to 4-3 win over Kraken in OT

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Cirielli Lighting Win Over Seattle
(AP Photo/Jason Redmond)
Cirielli Lighting Win Over Seattle
(AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

SEATTLE (AP) — Nikita Kucherov scored his second goal of the game 3:12 into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 win against the reeling Seattle Kraken on Saturday night.

Anthony Cirelli had a goal and an assist, and Nicholas Paul also scored for the Lightning, who have won three of four since a four-game skid. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves.

After the Lightning began overtime with a penalty kill, Kucherov got a backhanded pass from Brandon Hagel and fired it past Joey Daccord for his NHL-leading 19th goal of the season. The 2018-19 Hart Trophy winner also had an assist to increase his scoring total to 47 points.

“Even the year he was the MVP, he’s better this year,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s just a heck of a player.”

Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jamie Oleksiak and Jared McCann scored, and Jordan Eberle had two assists for Seattle, which lost its seventh straight. Philipp Grubauer stopped 21 of 23 shots he faced before leaving after two periods due to a lower body injury. Daccord had five saves the rest of the way.

The Kraken’s losing streak is tied for the second-longest in the franchise’s three-year history, trailing only a nine-game skid December 2021 to January 2022.

“There’s all kinds of things that are not going our way, but through all that there was nothing but push from our guys,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our guys continued to fight through it. We’ll keep fighting and we’ll get through this.”

Cirelli opened the scoring 9:28 into the first period, redirecting a shot from Nick Perbix for his seventh. Cirelli has four goals in his past four games after scoring three in his first 24.

Kucherov doubled Tampa Bay’s lead with 44 seconds left in the opening period, tapping in a pass from Brayden Point.

Bjorkstrand put Seattle on the board midway through the second with his eighth. Oleksiak tied it just 2:31 later with his second of the season.

McCann scored his 13th on a slap shot 14 seconds into the third, giving Seattle a 3-2 lead. It was the Kraken’s first lead since a 7-1 win over San Jose on Nov. 22.

“I don’t feel like we should’ve been in the position we were in to have to come from behind,” Cooper said. “But I’ve gotta give the guys credit. … In the end, it came down to a massive penalty kill for us in overtime and then the big boys made some plays. I just love the character of the guys and how we played this one out.”

Paul tied it at 3-3 when he buried a pass from Cirelli at the 7:09 mark. It was his ninth of the season.

“We pulled together as a team and everyone did their part to get that win,” Paul said.

The Kraken had a goal negated early in the second by a successful offsides challenge from the Lightning.

Seattle had to shuffle its lineup yet again after losing left wing Andre Burakovsky to another injury on Thursday night. Burakovsky made his return against New Jersey after missing six weeks, but lasted only two periods before suffering an upper-body injury that has him listed as week to week.

Kraken defenseman Justin Schultz exited the game with an upper-body injury.

Tampa Bay was missing center Steven Stamkos, who was out with an illness.

UP NEXT

Lightning: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

Kraken: Host Minnesota on Sunday night.

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AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL