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Lightning edge Knights in last NHL game before break

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Steven Stamkos broke a tie with a power-play goal midway through the third period and the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots for his league-leading 17th victory in the final game before the NHL’s extended holiday break. The game was the only one of 10 on the Tuesday schedule that wasn’t postponed due to COVID-19 issues, and the entire Wednesday and Thursday slates were scrapped ahead of a planned weekend hiatus.

Gabriel Fortier, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Anthony Cirelli also scored goals for Tampa Bay, which earned its third straight win and eighth in the past nine games. The Lightning go into the break with an NHL-best 44 points.

Vasilevskiy improved to 7-0-0 in December while improving his NHL calendar-year record for 2021 (regular season and playoffs) to 64-21-4.

Mark Stone, who departed after the 6:24 mark of the second period because of an injury, scored two goals and Nicolas Roy also scored for Vegas, which had a five-game winning streak snapped. Shea Theodore notched two assists, and Laurent Brossoit finished with 15 saves.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead at the 6:05 mark of the first period on Fortier’s first career NHL goal. The winger fired a wrist shot from the left circle past Brossoit’s blocker side.

Vegas dominated the rest of the period, outshooting the Lightning 17-5 overall. Despite that, the Golden Knights managed just a power-play goal by Stone to tie it 1-1 at the 9:26 mark.

Stone, left alone in the slot, made it 2-1 early in the second period with his sixth goal of the season. He fired a wrist shot through Vasilevskiy’s pads.

Roy then made it 3-1 at 8:10 of the second when he deked Victor Hedman and split a pair of Lightning defenders before roofing a shot past Vasilevskiy’s glove side.

Tampa Bay came back to tie it with two goals in a 43-second span later in the period. Bellemare got the first, his third of the season and 50th of his career, at 17:07. He one-timed a shot from the slot off a Corey Perry feed from behind the net.

Cirelli followed with his ninth goal of the season, when he backhanded in a loose puck near the right post.

Stamkos then gave the Lightning a 4-3 lead at 10:13 of the third period on a man advantage. He one-timed a Hedman feed from the left circle past Brossoit’s blocker side for his 14th goal of the season.

Vegas played without defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and forward Evgenii Dadonov who along Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper entered COVID protocol on Tuesday. Assistant Derek Lalonde handled head-coaching duties for Cooper.

–Field Level Media

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