Andrei Vasilevskiy made a franchise-record 54 saves, Nikita Kucherov scored twice and the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning won their sixth consecutive game, beating the Washington Capitals 5-4 in overtime Wednesday night in a potential playoff preview.
Victor Hedman scored 3:01 into overtime to keep the Lightning rolling in their first game since clinching the Presidents’ Trophy and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
Vasilevskiy was on top of his game as Washington set a franchise record with 58 shots. He rebounded in the overtime after allowing Evgeny Kuznetsov to tie the score with 52.6 seconds left in regulation.
Kucherov’s goals came on the power play and gave him 37 overall this season and increased his league-leading point total to 119.
Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning. Stamkos added two assists. The Lightning’s league-leading power play went 3 for 3, and their penalty kill was 5 for 6, thanks in large part to Vasilevskiy.
Lars Eller, Carl Hagelin and T.J. Oshie scored for the Capitals, who are trying to hold on to first place in the Metropolitan Division. Braden Holtby allowed five goals on 28 shots as the Lightning beat the Capitals for the second time in five days.
MAPLE LEAFS 4, SABRES 2
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — John Tavares and Auston Matthews each had a goal and assist, and Toronto won for just the second time in six games in beating Buffalo.
Mitchell Marner and Zach Hyman also scored and the Maple Leafs inched to within four points of the idle Boston Bruins in the race for second place in the Atlantic Division standings. Garret Sparks stopped 22 shots for Toronto, which was playing on consecutive nights after a 3-0 loss at Nashville.
Casey Mittelstadt and Alexander Nylander scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 1-7-1 in its past eight.