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Sports News

Lightning demolish Bruins for 2-1 series edge

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.

FILE PHOTO: Aug 19, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) moves the puck against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period in game five of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

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

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