Hedman and Kucherov help Lightning beat Devils 4-1

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Victor Hedman wanted to make up for an opening 20 minutes of play where he turned the puck over several times.

And the Tampa Bay defenseman did that starting in the second. Hedman and Nikita Kucherov both had a goal and an assist, Brayden Point scored his first NHL goal and the Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Saturday night.

"I think I played a terrible first period," Hedman said. "I wanted to be better and it was good to come out and have that start in the second."

Brian Boyle also scored for Tampa Bay, and Ben Bishop made 37 saves.

New Jersey got a goal from Damon Severson. Cory Schneider stopped 31 shots.

"We didn't play nearly well enough," Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. "Our special teams weren't special. We need to do better."

New Jersey went 0 for 4 on the power play, and allowed one goal on fourth short-handed situations.

Hedman put Tampa Bay up 2-1 with 11:33 left in the second from the blue line.

Shortly before Hedman's goal, Severson hit the post and Kucherov had his backhander go off the cross bar and then get swept off the goal line by Schneider's stick.

"Cory, he's been our best player all year," Lovejoy said.

Point, in his 12th NHL games, made it 3-1 at 5:01 of the third when he redirected Kucherov's shot during a power play.

"It was a lucky one," Point said. "It just hit by stick and bounced in. I'll take it, for sure."

Kucherov added a goal later in the third and has three goals and eight points over his last four games. Boyle tied it at 1 at 2:25 of the second off a cross-ice pass from Hedman, who tied Dan Boyle for the most career assists by a Tampa Bay defenseman with 187.

Tampa Bay outshot the Devils 21-8 during the second.

Severson scored from the slot at 14:39 of the first. Both of his goals this season have come against Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay has allowed the first goal in eight of 12 games.

"It's an issue, there's no question," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "We've got to figure out a way to make sure our starts are better. If Bish isn't being Bish, we're in trouble. He kept us in it."

Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman went to the locker room midway through the first after a hard check into the boards by Taylor Hall. He returned 7 minutes into the second and assisted on Kucherov's goal.

NOTES: The Lightning took two of three in the season series with the Devils that was completed in a 22 day span. ... Tampa Bay LW Jonathan Drouin, who took a high hit Tuesday, has resumed skating but sat out this second straight game.

UP NEXT

Devils: Complete back-to-back road games Sunday night at Carolina.

Lightning: Play at Florida Monday night.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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