Kaprizov nets pair, Wild stay hot in 5-1 win over Lightning
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Kirill Kaprizov scored twice and the Minnesota Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 on Wednesday night for their ninth victory in 11 games.
Joel Eriksson Ek, Calen Addison and Sam Steel also scored for Minnesota. Filip Gustavsson made 34 saves and improved to 8-1 in his last nine starts, but left the game late in the third period.
Minnesota coach Dean Evason said he didn’t know if Gustavsson exited due to illness or injury, only that the goalie left the ice and vomited violently.
“Obviously, they’re evaluating him,” Evason said.
The Wild have beaten Tampa Bay 10 times in a row at home since Nov. 28, 2011.
Brayden Point scored for the Lightning, who lost for the first time in five games and just the fourth time in 15.
Brian Elliott made 28 saves for Tampa Bay, one night after stopping 25 shots in a 4-1 win at Chicago. Andrei Vasilevskiy sat out with an illness.
This stretch is probably the most confident Minnesota has looked all season.
“We go into games with the expectation of playing our style, which is hard to play against,” forward Matt Boldy said. “I think if you ask the teams that come here that we play against, it’s pretty blatant how we play. It’s hard. It’s skilled. When we’re putting pucks into the net along with it, it’s hard to play with us.”
Kaprizov and Addison scored 2:18 apart in the second period for a 3-0 lead.
Kaprizov redirected a shot from Boldy into the Tampa Bay net during a power play. Then, with Boldy screening Elliott, a rising slap shot from Addison found the back of the net.
His team-best 21st goal also increased Kaprizov’s home point streak to 14 games, tying the franchise record set by Marian Gaborik during the 2007-08 season. Kaprizov added an empty-net goal.
Addison had two assists to become the first rookie defenseman in Wild history with multiple three-point games. His other one was Oct. 17.
“We had a good start to the second period, lot of zone time, lot of good looks, but that power play and they score two minutes later,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. “It’s tough climbing back down 3-0.”
Point converted a pass from Brandon Hagel for his 12th goal in 13 games to get the Lightning within 3-1, but Steel redirected Jared Spurgeon’s slap shot for a 4-1 lead after two periods.
“Couple of their goals they got some breaks. Obviously that first one, and the fourth one was a tap. Stuff went their way tonight,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
Point’s 16 goals since Nov. 25 trail only Alex Ovechkin (18), Connor McDavid (17) and Tage Thompson (17) during that span.
Eriksson Ek got the lone goal of an evenly played first period, when his centering attempt deflected off the skate of Nick Perbix and trickled across the line.
“All lines are rolling. We have four lines that are contributing and six D, two goalies, and everybody who’s in the lineup is always bringing something. So, yeah, it’s a good thing to have going right now,” Spurgeon said.
POWER PLAY RARITY
The power-play goal by Kaprizov marked the second straight game the Lightning have yielded one after allowing just one in 27 chances over their previous 11 games.
Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello also nearly scored with the man advantage, but his shot hit the post and crossbar.
Lightning: Finish a three-game road trip Friday at Winnipeg.
Wild: Play at Buffalo on Saturday.
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