Point starts 3-goal third, Lightning beat Blue Jackets 4-1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point extended his goal streak to five games, backup Brian Elliott made 24 saves in his seventh straight win, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night.
Brandon Hagel had two goals for Tampa Bay, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also scored. Nikita Kucherov had three assists in his second consecutive game.
Tampa Bay closed out a 5-1 homestand.
“It was a good homestand,” coach Jon Cooper said. “The defensive side of things we got much better at as things went on. Yesterday's news already. Now we have four division teams in a week right before Christmas. A big trip for us before the break.”
The stops on the Lightning's trip are Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and Buffalo.
Lightning captain Steve Stamkos had his 14-game point streak stopped. He holds the team record with an 18-game run in 2009-10.
Columbus' Daniil Tarasov stopped 25 shots. Kirill Marchenko scored for the Blue Jackets, who dropped to 2-7-1 on the road.
“We played a pretty good game and then you make a couple mistakes, and that's what this team can do to you,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “Two really silly mistakes, and it's in the back of your net. That's the frustrating point. That's how dangerous they are.”
Tampa Bay went ahead to stay when Point scored his 10th goal in the last 10 games.
Hagel sent a pass into the slot that Blue Jackets defenseman Marcus Bjork deflected off Tarasov. Point picked up the loose puck and lifted Tampa Bay to a 2-1 lead at 9:02.
Hagel made it 3-1 with 6:24 remaining, and added an empty-netter. Kucherov had the chance to score into the empty net but opted to pass the puck to Hagel instead.
“That's why he's got a letter on (his) jersey,” Hagel said of Kucherov, who is an alternate captain this season.
Elliott hasn’t lost since his first start of the season on Oct. 15 against Pittsburgh.
Bellemare stopped a 32-game goal drought from the top of the left circle, putting the Lightning up 1-0 at 3:57 of the first.
Tarasov kept it a one-goal game when he grabbed the puck with his glove after it went off his pad on Kucherov’s power-play shot midway through the first. He also had a nifty glove save on Stamkos’ rebound in the second.
Marchenko tied it at 1 from the left circle 3:10 into the second. It was the rookie’s second goal in six NHL games.
Tampa Bay’s fifth-ranked NHL power play went 0 for 3. The Blue Jackets, ranked 31st, failed on its lone man-advantage chance. ... Kucherov has 14 assists and 24 points in his last 11 games against the Blue Jackets.
Blue Jackets: Have seven players on injured reserve, including G Joonas Korpisalo (lower body). He missed his third straight game and is expected to be out one to two weeks. … LW Eric Robinson (illness) was scratched.
Lightning: D Mikhail Sergachev, who left late in Tuesday’s game against Seattle after taking a shot off his hand, took part in the morning skate but didn’t play.
Blue Jackets: Play Saturday at Boston.
Lightning: At Montreal on Saturday night.
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