Kucherov scores late to lead Lightning comeback

by Gary Shelton on January 15, 2020

in general

Kucherov led the Lightning's comeback. /CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

As a player, Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov is one of the most dynamic players on the ice.

As an analyst, well, not so much.

Shortly after scoring with 68 seconds to play to force overtime, in which the Lightning won their 11th game of their last 12, Kucherov stood in the Lightning dressing room and tried to describe what he had seen in the Lightning's 4-3 shootout win over Los Angeles.

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Vasilevskiy is 10-0-1 in his last 11 games./CHUCK MULLER

“Cirelli won the draw. The puck was coming toward me. That was it."

Oh. But was it important to keep your patience after the Kings went ahead 3-2?

"I don't know. Yeah, I guess."

How did it feel to score such a big goal?

"It's okay."

Yes, Kucherov is a man whose big moments outnumber his words. Still, he was the highlight in a game that saw the Bolts rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.

Kucherov's big goal came with a six-on-five advantage after goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled.

“I think we were due six-on-five at some point," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We’ve been close. We haven’t been able to get one. Big-time shot by Kuch. It was one of those when you’re staring zero points in the face and come away with two. You’ve got to take that and run."

Vasilevskiy improved his record to 23-9-2 on the season.

The Lightning were outplayed early by the Kings in the first seven minutes of the game.

“You watch 82 games, you’re not going to start perfectly every game," Cooper said. "We’ve played a lot of hockey. It was a little disconcerting to be down 2-0 the way we came out of the gate, but I tend to look at the positive and say I Iiked the way we finished the period. To get it back to even was what we needed. We needed a jump. Give L.A. credit. They came out and skated hard from the get-go.  It took us a little bit to get our feet wet but once we did we were okay.”

The Lightning scored on goals by Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos to tie the game at 2.

In the shootout, Brayden Point and Stamkos scored.

The Lightning goes on the road today, traveling to play Minnesota Thursday night (8 p.m.) and at Winnipeg on Friday (7:30 p.m.).

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