Backup goalie Louis Domingue won his 10th straight start as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the host Florida Panthers 5-2 on Sunday night.
Domingue (18-4-0), who made 25 saves, is 3-0 against the Panthers this season and hasn’t lost to anyone since Nov. 27.
Tampa Bay got two goals and one assist from Nikita Kucherov, who has 24 goals this season and leads the NHL with 84 points. Tampa Bay also got goals from Steven Stamkos (No. 29), Ryan Callahan (his sixth) and Brayden Point (team-high No. 32).
Florida got goals from Frank Vatrano, his 19th, and Denis Malgin, his sixth this season and his first in exactly one month. Vatrano leads the Panthers in even-strength goals with 17.
Panthers backup goalie James Reimer made nine saves on 12 shots and was pulled after two periods in favor of Roberto Luongo (nine saves).
In a quirk of the game, Florida outshot Tampa Bay 17-3 in the second period yet each team scored twice in those 20 minutes.
The Lightning opened the scoring with just 4:02 gone in the first period as Kucherov’s bad-angle shot got past Reimer.
Tampa Bay extended its lead to 2-0 with 12:08 expired in the second period. The Lightning showed its speed as Anton Stralman passed ahead to Stamkos, who redirected the puck over Reimer’s glove.
Florida got on the board 63 seconds later on the rush. Jonathan Huberdeau sent a short cross-ice pass to Vatrano, who cut Tampa Bay’s lead to 2-1.
The Panthers had a chance to score, but Vincent Trocheck was a bit reluctant to shoot, looking to make a set-up pass. Instead, Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan stole the puck and made a great backhand move at the end to score a breakaway goal past Reimer’s stick with 2:09 left in the second period.
Florida, though, cut its deficit to 3-2 after Malgin’s shot just 59 seconds later went in off Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev’s stick. Florida’s Riley Sheahan had a screen set up in front.
After Trocheck was called for hooking Kucherov, the Lightning power play cashed in on Point’s blast over Luongo’s right shoulder just 4:25 into the third period. J.T. Miller’s set-up pass earned him the primary assist.
Tampa Bay closed the scoring on Kucherov’s power-play goal with 48 seconds left.
–Field Level Media