Nikita Kucherov collected one goal and three assists to lead the Lightning to a 7-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in Toronto, giving Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead in an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev had three-point games for the Lightning, who won on consecutive nights. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 saves in the win.
Game 4 will be Friday.
After an evenly played start, the Lightning scored a pair of goals 15 seconds apart — a franchise record.
Ondrej Palat opened the scoring with Tampa Bay’s first power-play goal of the playoffs, in the 17th opportunity, when he one-timed a shot from just inside the right circle at 12:46 of the first period.
In the blink of an eye, Yanni Gourde doubled the lead. Gourde cut down the wing and zipped to the middle after a linesman collided with defender Jeremy Lauzon before waiting Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak to commit and lifting a shot over him.
It was Sergachev’s turn to net a power-play goal early in the second period. Kucherov took the puck low — drawing the defenders — before sending a pass to the high slot for Sergachev to blast a one-timer 2:14 into the middle frame.
Boston’s Brad Marchand gave his team life with a power-play goal 4:56 into the period, but it was all Lightning after that.
Killorn restored Tampa Bay’s three-goal edge with his team’s third man-advantage marker of the game by pouncing on the rebound at 8:35 of the second period. Soon after, Halak was pulled from the Boston net — having made a dozen saves — and replaced by Dan Vladar, who made his NHL debut.
The goalie switch didn’t turn the momentum. After Point extended the lead when he converted a breakaway deke with 4:37 remaining in the second period, Killorn potted his second of the game with 1:59 left to make it a 6-1 game and finish off a dominating period.
The Lightning didn’t let up, either, Kucherov — thanks to a slick move by Point on an odd-man rush — converted an easy tap-in just 3:58 into the third period, and Tampa Bay coasted to victory.
Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots he faced.
The Bruins made a flurry of changes from Game 2, inserting forward Par Lindholm and defensemen John Moore and Lauzon for Sean Kuraly, Anders Bjork and Connor Clifton.
–Field Level Media