Kucherov scores twice in return, Lightning defeat Panthers in Game 1


SUNRISE, Fla. — Brayden Point scored his second goal of the game with 1:14 remaining to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 victory against the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at BB&T Center on Sunday.

Point deked to his backhand on a breakaway against goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to score the game-winner.

Nikita Kucherov scored two power-play goals and had an assist in his return for Tampa Bay after he missed the entire regular season following hip surgery in late December.

Point tied the game 4-4 with Tampa Bay’s third power-play goal at 13:00 of the third period.

Blake Coleman scored a shorthanded goal, Victor Hedman had three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves for the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists, and Bobrovsky made 34 saves for the Panthers. Aleksander Barkov and Owen Tippett, playing in his first Stanley Cup Playoff game, each had a goal and an assist for Florida.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be played here Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, SNE, TVAS, BSFL, BSSUN).

Huberdeau tied it 3-3 at 1:27 of the third period when he scored on a breakaway.

Tippett gave Florida a 4-3 lead at 4:09 off a spinning pass from Huberdeau.

Tampa Bay trailed 2-1 before Kucherov scored twice in the second period. He scored at 4:58 to tie it 2-2 and at 14:51 to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead, each goal coming off a pass from Hedman to the right of the net.

Coleman gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead at 7:42 of the first period, nine seconds after the Panthers had an apparent power-play goal disallowed because of goalie interference. Coleman scored on a backhand from the slot after taking a feed from Yanni Gourde.

Barkov tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal at 9:41 when he one-timed a cross-ice pass from Huberdeau at the top of the right face-off circle.

A little more than a minute after Bobrovsky stopped Kucherov on a breakaway, Carter Verhaeghe gave Florida a 2-1 lead at 16:31, scoring on a one-timer from the high slot off a feed from Barkov.

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