Kucherov's OT goal lifts Lightning over Blue Jackets 2-1

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) The extra incentive to win was evident in the amped-up intensity, extra pushing and shoving, and scattered punches exchanged between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets.

In the end, a major gaffe by Columbus' Zach Werenski led to the overtime goal that gave the Lightning a 2-1 win in the first meeting of the teams since the Blue Jackets swept Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs for their first-ever postseason series victory.

Werenski turned the puck over behind his own net and Victor Hedman fed it out to Kucherov, who beat Elvis Merzlikins 31 seconds into overtime for the 2-1 win on Monday night, the seventh straight for the hot Lightning.

''I (screwed) that one up,'' a dejected Werenski said. ''That's about it pretty much.''

The game was close-checking and chippy, not unlike the playoff series between the two teams last spring. But Kucherov, who also scored in the first period, downplayed the revenge factor.

''We got two points and we're happy with that,'' he said. ''What happened in the past stays there, and we're trying not to think about it. But I guess those guys are trying to say something about last year on the ice, but who cares.''

Former Blue Jackets backup Curtis McElhinney, starting ahead of Andrei Vasilevskiy on the first night of a back-to-back, had 31 saves to extend the Lightning's point streak to nine games (8-0-1).

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored for Columbus. Merzlikins - who finished with 28 saves - and the Blue Jackets lost their second straight after a 10-game point streak helped move them up the table in the Metropolitan Division. Coupled with the New York Islanders' win at Washington, Columbus dropped from third place into the first wild card slot.

Tampa Bay, chasing first-place Boston in the Atlantic Division, is 19-2-1 in the last 22 games.

''There was a lot of anticipation coming into this game,'' Lightning forward Alex Killhorn said. ''It was a game we wanted to win. We've been playing well. I think they have as well.''

The Lightning were missing prolific scorer Steven Stamkos because of an injury, and the Blue Jackets were without star defenseman Seth Jones (ankle injury) and forward Cam Atkinson (lower-body injury).

Kucherov started it for the Lightning at 2:29 of the first when he redirected Mikhail Sergachev's shot from the point.

The Blue Jackets tied it in the second. Shortly after Columbus missed on a 2-on-1 rush, Bjorkstrand got a breakaway, deked McElhinney and backhanded a shot over his right pad 3:44 into the middle period.

Columbus coach John Tortorella was not unhappy with the team's play.

''I thought we showed them way too much respect in the first period,'' he said. ''We caught hold of ourselves, and then I thought we played a really good hockey game.

''The thing that frustrates me is, I want us to have a chance to win the overtime. And if they're going to beat us, I want them to beat us, not us beat ourselves. That's what's frustrating to me. I want to see it play out. Let it play out, not have it end that way.''

NOTES: Columbus F Liam Foudy was recalled from London of the Ontario Hockey League on an emergency basis and made his NHL debut. ... Merzlikins was named the NHL No. 1 Star for the week ending Feb. 9. ... Lightning D Ryan McDonagh (lower body) missed his second game with injury and D Jan Rutta (lower body) missed his third. ... Stamkos could return Tuesday night against Pittsburgh. ... Sergachev's assist was his 100th career point. ... Markus Nutivaara replaced Jones on the Blue Jackets' first defensive pairing alongside Zach Weresnki.

UP NEXT:

Lightning: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Blue Jackets: At Buffalo on Thursday.

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123OTT
TB36-15-5
10012
CLB30-17-10
01001
STARS OF THE GAME
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
E. Cernak D00050/0021:311
A. Cirelli C00046/4021:021
B. Coburn D00100/0012:033
Y. Gourde RW00-110/0014:262
V. Hedman D01120/0029:100
T. Johnson RW00011/4017:061
M. Joseph RW00000/0008:532
A. Killorn LW00000/1018:322
N. Kucherov RW20280/0018:200
P. Maroon LW00000/0211:552
O. Palat LW00010/1015:572
C. Paquette C00003/4010:173
B. Point C02228/9017:470
L. Schenn D00010/0411:273
M. Sergachev D01030/0023:010
K. Shattenkirk D00-120/0221:170
M. Stephens C00-105/4011:260
C. Verhaeghe LW00-100/0209:281
SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
E. Bemstrom RW01130/1010:390
O. Bjorkstrand RW10140/0020:103
P. Dubois C01020/4619:243
N. Foligno LW00-2112/4221:314
L. Foudy C00020/0010:231
V. Gavrikov D00-110/0022:241
N. Gerbe LW00011/0211:022
S. Harrington D00110/0012:420
B. Jenner C00018/6017:173
S. Milano LW00030/0014:512
R. Nash C00023/3013:003
M. Nutivaara D00000/0019:562
G. Nyquist LW00-120/0016:484
A. Peeke D00010/0012:550
E. Robinson RW00020/0010:253
D. Savard D00000/0024:056
K. Stenlund RW00013/5011:450
Z. Werenski D00-150/0024:161
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
C. McElhinney (W)321310.96960:31
GOALIESSA
C. McElhinney (W)32
GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
E. Merzlikins (L)302280.93360:31
GOALIESSA
E. Merzlikins (L)30
GOAL Nikita Kucherov (Snap shot), Assists: Victor Hedman and Brayden Point
TB:GoalsShots
CLB:GoalsShots
Full Play By Play
GOALS
  • OVERTIME
    • TB
      31.0GOAL Nikita Kucherov (Snap shot), Assists: Victor Hedman and Brayden Point
    • 2ND PERIOD
      • CLB
        03:44GOAL Oliver Bjorkstrand (Backhand shot), Assists: Pierre-Luc Dubois and Emil Bemstrom
    • 1ST PERIOD
      • TB
        02:29GOAL Nikita Kucherov (Tip-in shot), Assists: Mikhail Sergachev and Brayden Point
    PENALTIES
        • 2ND PERIOD
          • CLB
            16:32Pierre-Luc Dubois penalty High Sticking - 2 min.
          • TB
            13:21Carter Verhaeghe penalty Hooking - 2 min.
          • TB
            07:51Luke Schenn penalty Roughing - 2 min.
          • CLB
            01:21Pierre-Luc Dubois penalty Holding - 2 min.
        • 1ST PERIOD
          • CLB
            17:10Nathan Gerbe penalty Cross Checking - 2 min.
          • TB
            17:10Pat Maroon penalty Roughing - 2 min.
          • CLB
            17:34Nick Foligno penalty Illegal Check To Head - 2 min.
          • TB
            17:10Luke Schenn penalty Roughing - 2 min.
          • TB
            01:29Kevin Shattenkirk penalty Roughing - 2 min.
          • CLB
            01:29Pierre-Luc Dubois penalty Slashing - 2 min.
        TEAM STATS
        TB
        CLB
        Shots on Goal3032
        Goals in Power Play00
        Faceoff Wins2327
        Penalties55
        Major Penalties00
        Minor Penalties55
        Misconducts00
        TEAM STATS
        TB
        Shots on Goal30
        Goals in Power Play0
        Faceoff Wins23
        Penalties5
        Major Penalties0
        Minor Penalties5
        Misconducts0
        123OTT
        TB36-15-5
        10012
        CLB30-17-10
        01001
        STARS OF THE GAME
        6.7 %SHOT %3.1 %
        0.969 %SAVE %0.933 %
        SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
        E. Cernak D00050/0021:311
        A. Cirelli C00046/4021:021
        B. Coburn D00100/0012:033
        Y. Gourde RW00-110/0014:262
        V. Hedman D01120/0029:100
        T. Johnson RW00011/4017:061
        M. Joseph RW00000/0008:532
        A. Killorn LW00000/1018:322
        N. Kucherov RW20280/0018:200
        P. Maroon LW00000/0211:552
        O. Palat LW00010/1015:572
        C. Paquette C00003/4010:173
        B. Point C02228/9017:470
        L. Schenn D00010/0411:273
        M. Sergachev D01030/0023:010
        K. Shattenkirk D00-120/0221:170
        M. Stephens C00-105/4011:260
        C. Verhaeghe LW00-100/0209:281
        SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
        E. Bemstrom RW01130/1010:390
        O. Bjorkstrand RW10140/0020:103
        P. Dubois C01020/4619:243
        N. Foligno LW00-2112/4221:314
        L. Foudy C00020/0010:231
        V. Gavrikov D00-110/0022:241
        N. Gerbe LW00011/0211:022
        S. Harrington D00110/0012:420
        B. Jenner C00018/6017:173
        S. Milano LW00030/0014:512
        R. Nash C00023/3013:003
        M. Nutivaara D00000/0019:562
        G. Nyquist LW00-120/0016:484
        A. Peeke D00010/0012:550
        E. Robinson RW00020/0010:253
        D. Savard D00000/0024:056
        K. Stenlund RW00013/5011:450
        Z. Werenski D00-150/0024:161
        GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
        C. McElhinney (W)321310.96960:31
        GOALIESSA
        C. McElhinney (W)32
        GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
        E. Merzlikins (L)302280.93360:31
        GOALIESSA
        E. Merzlikins (L)30
        STARS OF THE GAME
        123OTT
        TB36-15-5
        10012
        CLB30-17-10
        01001
        SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
        E. Cernak D00050/0021:311
        A. Cirelli C00046/4021:021
        B. Coburn D00100/0012:033
        Y. Gourde RW00-110/0014:262
        V. Hedman D01120/0029:100
        T. Johnson RW00011/4017:061
        M. Joseph RW00000/0008:532
        A. Killorn LW00000/1018:322
        N. Kucherov RW20280/0018:200
        P. Maroon LW00000/0211:552
        O. Palat LW00010/1015:572
        C. Paquette C00003/4010:173
        B. Point C02228/9017:470
        L. Schenn D00010/0411:273
        M. Sergachev D01030/0023:010
        K. Shattenkirk D00-120/0221:170
        M. Stephens C00-105/4011:260
        C. Verhaeghe LW00-100/0209:281
        Total2403023/2710-23
        SKATERSGA+/-SOGFW/FLPIMTOIHITS
        E. Bemstrom RW01130/1010:390
        O. Bjorkstrand RW10140/0020:103
        P. Dubois C01020/4619:243
        N. Foligno LW00-2112/4221:314
        L. Foudy C00020/0010:231
        V. Gavrikov D00-110/0022:241
        N. Gerbe LW00011/0211:022
        S. Harrington D00110/0012:420
        B. Jenner C00018/6017:173
        S. Milano LW00030/0014:512
        R. Nash C00023/3013:003
        M. Nutivaara D00000/0019:562
        G. Nyquist LW00-120/0016:484
        A. Peeke D00010/0012:550
        E. Robinson RW00020/0010:253
        D. Savard D00000/0024:056
        K. Stenlund RW00013/5011:450
        Z. Werenski D00-150/0024:161
        Total1203227/2310-38
        GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
        C. McElhinney (W)321310.96960:31
        GOALIESSA
        C. McElhinney (W)32
        GOALIESSAGASVSV%TOI
        E. Merzlikins (L)302280.93360:31
        GOALIESSA
        E. Merzlikins (L)30
        GOALS
        • OVERTIME
          • 2ND PERIOD
          • 1ST PERIOD
          PENALTIES
              • 2ND PERIOD
              • 1ST PERIOD
              • OVERTIME
              • 3RD PERIOD
              • 2ND PERIOD
              • 1ST PERIOD

              123OTT
              TB36-15-5
              10012
              CLB30-17-10
              01001
              TEAM STATS
              3.86
              GF AVG
              2.94
              GA AVG
              .80
              Power Play
              3.13
              GF AVG
              2.87
              GA AVG
              .57
              Power Play
              All times are US/Eastern.