Vegas stops Tampa Bay’s 11-game streak
Alec Martinez had a goal and an assist in his Vegas debut, and the Golden Knights stopped Tampa Bay’s 11-game win streak with a 5-3 victory over the Lightning on Thursday night.
Martinez, who was acquired in a trade with Los Angeles on Wednesday, tied the game late in the first period, delighting the crowd at T-Mobile Arena. It was Martinez’s second goal of the season; he also scored at Vegas on Jan. 9.
Paul Stastny, Mark Stone, Ryan Reaves and Max Pacioretty also scored for the Golden Knights. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves while improving to 21-13-4 against Tampa Bay.
Vegas earned its fourth straight win and improved to 8-3-2 under coach Pete DeBoer, who took over for the fired Gerard Gallant on Jan. 15. The win pushed the Golden Knights into first place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of Edmonton.
Vegas’ streak also includes victories over playoff contenders St. Louis, Washington and the New York Islanders.
Steven Stamkos had two goals for Tampa Bay, and Kevin Shattenkirk also scored.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who hadn’t lost in regulation since Dec. 14 against Washington, stopped 28 shots. Vasilevskiy entered with a franchise-record point streak of 21 games (19-0-2).
Tampa Bay jumped in front when Shattenkirk’s blind pass deflected off Vegas defenseman Nick Holden’s skate and past Fleury 7:02 into the first.
After Martinez’s one-timer tied the game, Stastny got the lead for the Golden Knights when he deflected Reilly Smith’s shot to the far side early in the second period.
Stamkos answered on the power play, finishing a nifty passing sequence with Anthony Cirelli and Victor Hedman. Stamkos’ one-timer snuck over Fleury’s stick.
One minute later, Martinez started an odd-man rush when he poke-checked the puck from Tampa Bay’s Braydon Coburn at the blue line. Pacioretty raced into the zone and fed Stone, who deked Vasilevskiy with a forehand-to-backhand maneuver that put the Golden Knights back on top.
Vegas added a pair of goals less than a minute into the third. Reaves blocked a pass from Coburn, skated into the zone and blasted a shot past Vasilevskiy 10 seconds into the period. Pacioretty pushed the lead to three with his 28th goal.
It was a franchise-record win streak for Tampa Bay, which last lost in overtime at Dallas on Jan. 27.
Tampa Bay C Brayden Point was scratched due to the flu.
Lightning: Visit Arizona on Saturday.
Golden Knights: Host Florida on Saturday.
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