By The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — Andrei Vasilevskiy delivered a record-setting performance after sitting out a month.
Tampa Bay’s goalie made a career-high 48 saves in his return from a broken left foot and the Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 on Thursday night in a matchup of the NHL’s top two teams.
“Actually (felt) pretty good,” Vasilevskiy said. “Tried to survive the first period, then the second, too.”
Vasilevskiy tied the team record for saves in a game established by Ben Bishop against Carolina on Jan. 19, 2014.
“He was the best player on the ice for us by a country mile,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
Alex Killorn and Tyler Johnson both scored for Tampa Bay during the final 36 seconds of the second period to make it 4-1. Vasilevskiy, who missed the previous 14 games, stopped all 23 shots he faced in the period.
“That was a pretty good test for us,” Vasilevskiy said. “Guys scored important goals at the end of the second.”
Anthony Cirelli and Nikita Kucherov also had goals for the Lightning (25-7-1), who have won eight in a row and lead Toronto by eight points in the Atlantic Division. The franchise record is a nine-game winning streak in 2016.
Tampa Bay scored three times on 12 shots in the second. Killorn put home a backhand with 35.8 seconds left, and Johnson converted from the slot with 1.7 seconds to go.
Toronto got a goal from Kasperi Kapanen, and Frederik Andersen stopped 17 shots. The Maple Leafs have lost three of four (1-2-1) after a five-game winning streak.
The Leafs went 0 for 6 on the power play.
“We did everything but put the puck in the back of the net,” Toronto center John Tavares said. “I don’t think you want to hang your head. I think you’re obviously disappointed in the result. We have high expectations for ourselves. It’s a long season. We’ll see these guys again.”
Vasilevskiy got his glove on Patrick Marleau’s point-blank chance and then trapped the loose puck with his pad early in the third.
The Maple Leafs hit the crossbar or post three times in the first and Vasilevskiy made a left pad save on Tavares’ in-close backhand late in the period.
Nazem Kadri had a nifty deflection stopped by Vasilevskiy and also hit the post during a power play midway through the second.
“He played unbelievable,” Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews said. “I thought we played well. We had a ton of chances. I think sometimes you’ve just got to tip your hat and move forward.”
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead on Kucherov’s power-play goal at 5:31 of the second that required a video review. A no-goal call on the ice was overturned when officials determined Andersen’s glove save came behind the goal line.
Kucherov also had an assist and has six goals and 29 points over the last 15 games.
Kapanen put the Maple Leafs up 1-0 after stealing an errant pass into the slot by Kucherov 5:26 into the game.
Cirelli tied it on his third short-handed goal at 8:20 of the first.
Blue Jackets 4, Kings 1
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Artemi Panarin scored twice, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 29 shots and Columbus topped Los Angeles.
Lukas Sedlak and Josh Anderson also scored and Cam Atkinson assisted on both of Panarin’s goals as the Blue Jackets snapped a two-game skid and held onto second place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind Washington.
Dustin Brown had the lone goal and Jonathan Quick made 37 saves for the injury-ravaged Kings, who have lost three in a row and seven of their last nine while slipping to the bottom of the Pacific Division.
Canadiens 6, Hurricanes 4
MONTREAL — Jeff Petry scored twice and Casey Price made 27 saves for his fourth consecutive victory as Montreal got past Carolina.
Matthew Peca, Brendan Gallagher, Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw also scored for the Canadiens, who have won four of five. Phillip Danault and Kenny Agostino each had two assists.
Andrei Svechnikov had two goals, and Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho also scored for the Hurricanes. Petr Mrazek made 34 saves in place of injured Curtis McElhinney.
Wild 5, Panthers 1
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Nino Niederreiter scored twice, Ryan Suter had three assists and Devan Dubnyk finished with 30 saves as Minnesota downed Florida.
Eric Staal, Zach Parise and Jonas Brodin also scored for the Wild, who were coming off a 7-1 win over Montreal on Tuesday. Niederreiter added an assist and has four goals in the last three games.
Denis Malgin scored his second goal of the season and James Reimer stopped 21 shots but the Panthers dropped their fourth straight.
Predators 4, Canucks 3, OT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Colton Sissons scored 3:05 into overtime to give Nashville a victory over Vancouver.
Ryan Hartman, Nick Bonino and Calle Jarnkrok also scored and Pekka Rinne made 19 saves for the Predators, winners of two straight.
Jay Beagle, Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat had the goals for the Canucks, who had won three in a row.
Vancouver tied it with 43.5 seconds remaining in the third period when Horvat, parked at the far post, slipped one past Rinne. The Canucks were short-handed at the time and had pulled goalie Anders Nilsson for an extra skater.
In overtime, Bonino sent a pass from the left boards to Sissons skating through the slot and he elevated a shot over Nilsson, who finished with 30 saves.
Sharks 3, Stars 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Timo Meier scored two goals and Logan Couture had two assists in San Jose’s win over Dallas.
Meier’s 17th and 18th goals sent the Sharks to their third straight victory and fifth in six games. Meier has four goals in his last two games and 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past six contests.
Joe Thornton also scored and Martin Jones made 20 saves for the Sharks.
San Jose prevented a three-game season series sweep by Dallas, which had won three straight and six of seven against the Sharks. Dallas has lost three in a row overall after winning its previous four.
Meier scored at 2:50 of the third period to break a 1-all tie.
Miro Heiskanen and Radek Faksa scored for the Stars.
Jets 5, Oilers 4, OT
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey scored 41 seconds into overtime to lift Winnipeg over Edmonton.
Morrissey took a pass from Mark Scheifele and fired a high shot past goalie Cam Talbot for his fourth goal of the season. The Jets won their third straight and ended Edmonton’s winning streak at four games.
Scheifele, Mathieu Perreault, Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine also scored for Winnipeg. Dustin Byfuglien, Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler each had two assists, and Connor Hellebuyck made 22 saves.
Ryan Spooner, Darnell Nurse, Jujhar Khaira and Alex Chiasson scored for the Oilers, and Talbot stopped 35 shots. Connor McDavid had two assists, extending his point streak to seven games.