TAMPA, Fla. — Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman scored in the shootout and the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 for their ninth straight victory Monday night, matching the longest winning streak in franchise history.
J.T. Miller’s third-period goal forced overtime, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots for the Lightning, who improved the league’s best record to 48-11-4 and became the fourth team to reach 100 points in 63 games or less.
Alex Iafallo, Jonny Brodzinski and Austin Wagner scored in the third period, helping Los Angeles turn a two-goal deficit into a short-lived 3-2 lead that goalie Jack Campbell couldn’t protect. The Kings have lost eight straight, their longest skid since December 2007.
Braden Point and Anthony Cirelli had first-period goals for the Lightning, who fell behind when Brodzinski and Wagner scored in a 36-second span. Miller countered less than a minute later to make it 3-all.
Kucherov got his 71st assist on Tampa Bay’s first goal, giving him a league-leading and career-best 101 points.
The victory capped a day in which Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois explored the prospect of trying to upgrade the roster at the trade deadline before ultimately deciding there were no potential deals out there that made sense while also moving Tampa Bay closer to winning the Stanley Cup.
“I hope I sent them the same message they’ve been sending me — calm and confident,” BriseBois said about his players.
“We have a very good team. We have faith in the players we have in there. We have answers for whatever our opponents will throw at us,” the GM added. “There are a lot of good teams out there, and I think we’re one of them. I think we compared well to the best teams in the league before the deadline, and after the deadline I still feel that is the case.”
With their latest win, the Lightning joined the 1976-77 and 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens and 1971-72 Boston Bruins as the only teams to accumulate 100 points in the first 63 games of a season.
It’s the sixth 100-point season in club history, and Tampa Bay’s fourth in the past six seasons.
NOTES: Vasilevskiy has won seven consecutive starts and is 8-0-2 in February. … Stamkos had two assists. With 381 career goals, he remains two shy of tying Vincent Lecavalier for the most in franchise history. … The Kings dropped both games of the season series against Tampa Bay for the third straight year.
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Fred Goodall, The Associated Press