Nikita Kucherov Brace Lifts Tampa Bay Lightning Over Carolina Hurricanes


Dec 11, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) skates with the puck as Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey (65) attemoted to defend during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nikita Kucherov scored twice, including the game-winner with 30 seconds left, to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Bolts.

Kucherov scored the game-winner at 19:30 of the third. He received the puck in the left faceoff circle and attempted to pass the puck to a streaking Tyler Johnson. However, the puck hit Carolina (8-17-3) defenceman Ron Hainsey’s skate a trickled past Cam Ward in the Hurricanes goal.

The Lightning’s (19-8-3) first goal was just as fortunate.

On the power play after Riley Nash was called for tripping, Anton Stralman dumped the puck along the boards and after Ward went to play it, the puck took an awkward bounce to the front of the crease where Kucherov tapped home into the gaping goal at 6:35 of the third.

Carolina tied the game at 12:03 when Justin Faulk’s wrister beat Evgeni Nabokov.

Nabokov, who was named first star, made 29 saves. Ward stopped 25 shots.

Ondrej Palat missed his first game of the season as he was scratched with a lower body injury. He is considered day-to-day. Mark Barberio was a healthy scratch.

The Lightning also announced earlier in the day that Jonathan Drouin would be staying with Tampa Bay and will not be joining Canada at the World Juniors.

The Bolts begin a five game road trip with a visit to Washington to face the Capitals Saturday night.