TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Andrei Vasilevskiy made 19 saves for his 10th consecutive victory, rookie Ross Colton broke a third-period tie with his second career goal and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Thursday night.
Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde also scored for Tampa Bay.
Dylan Strome and Mattias Janmark had power-play goals for the Blackhawks. They have lost three straight and are 1-5 in their last six games.
The teams will complete the two-game series Saturday.
Colton gave Tampa Bay the lead at 5:32 of the third period. He raced up ice and took a pass from Mathieu Joseph, skated in alone on Kevin Lankinen, pulled the puck back to his forehand and tucked a shot between the post and the pad.
”It was such a quick play and I didn’t have too much time to think about it, so I went in with the attitude that I was going to shoot,” said Colton, whose other goal was also awinner. ”But I saw the D-man was kind of hanging on me there and at the last second I saw the goalie bite so I tried to stick it around it and it took all in one (move). It was a great play by (Pat Maroon) and (Joseph) and luckily it went in.”
Hedman added an empty-net goal with 16 seconds.
Vasilevskiy tied his personal best winning streak, which he also accomplished on two separate occasions last season.
”I’ve got some confidence going right now and the team is playing extremely well,” said Vasilevskiy, who also picked up his 13th career assist. ”But I don’t think I’ve played my best in the past two or three games, but in the end we got the Ws. Sometimes the guys are helping me and sometimes I help the guys. Team work.”
Barclay Goodrow put Chicago on a power play in the opening minute as he tried to engage Connor Murphy in a fight for a hit Murphy delivered to Erik Cernak the last time the two teams met March 7. But Murphy didn’t fight and Goodrow was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, leading to Janmark’s goal at 2:10.
”I just said no to the fight, he wouldn’t let it go so he got a penalty,” Murphy said. ”There are times throughout a game that guys are going to chirp and have trash talk, because they weren’t happy with the last game we played when I had the hit against their D man, so that’s just the way it went.”
Killorn pulled Tampa Bay even with his eighth of the season, taking a pass from Hedman and sweeping around the back of the net for a wraparound that hit the skate of Lankinen and banked in at 13:15.
Gourde put the Lightning in front with 2:58 left in the period on the power play. After taking a pass from Mikhail Sergachev, Gourde split the defense and tried to find Tyler Johnson with a pass, but the puck deflected back to him allowing him to put a quick backhand on net that squeezed through the pads of Lankinen.
The Blackhawks quickly answered with another power-play goal at 18:45. Strome cut across the crease off a pass from Janmark and was able to put in his own rebound after the initial chance hit the post.
”Just went to the net,” Strome said. ”Two-on-1, under the stick, and a little behind me, so I knew I had to get the stick around to get the rebound and it went in. It felt good, for sure.”
BACK IN BLACK(HAWKS)
Chicago C Dylan Strome was activated off injured reserve and played his first game since Feb. 19. Strome missed 11 games with to a concussion.
RETURN TO THE ICE
Tampa Bay C Mitchell Stephens skated with the team during the pregame morning skate on Thursday. Stephens injured his leg in Columbus on Jan. 23 and later underwent surgery.