NEW YORK (AP) — J.T. Miller scored twice, Brayden Point had a goal and two assists, and the high-scoring Tampa Bay Lightning held off the New York Islanders 7-6 on Thursday night.
Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Victor Hedman each added a goal and an assist, Tyler Johnson also scored, and Braydon Coburn and Yanni Gourde each had two assists as the Lightning improved to 12-2-1 in their last 15 games.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots for his league-leading 42nd win, extending Tampa Bay’s franchise record.
The Lighting extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division to six points over idle Boston, which is 2-0 against Tampa Bay this season.
Anders Lee, Ryan Pulock and Anthony Beauvillier each scored twice for the Islanders, who lost for the 12th time in 14 games (2-8-4). Jordan Eberle had three assists, and John Tavares and Josh Bailey added two apiece. Christopher Gibson started and gave up six goals on 24 shots before being pulled with about 8½ minutes left in the second period. Jaroslav Halak came on and finished with 11 saves.
The Lightning led 3-1 after one period and appeared to take control with four goals on 10 shots in the second to extend their lead to 7-3. However, the Islanders scored three goals in a three-minute span to pull within one 4½ minutes into the third.
Lee got his second of the game — and career-high 38th — to pull the Islanders to 7-4 with their third power-play goal 1:35 into the third. It was his seventh goal in six games.
Beauvillier pulled New York within two, backhanding the puck through Vasilevskiy’s five-hole for his 15th at 3:21. Beauvillier then deflected Johnny Boychuk’s slap shot from the right point to pull the Islanders to 7-6 with his 16th at 4:36.
Point extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-1 off a pass from Cirelli on a short-handed 2-on-1 break for his 28th at 2:43 of the second.
With the Islanders still on power play, Pulock got them within two just 47 seconds later with his second of the game on a one-timer from above the left circle for his ninth.
Lee scored from the left side to pull New York to 4-3 at 5:15 of the middle period..
Miller gave the Lightning a two-goal lead again as he scored from the left side off a pass from Steven Stamkos on a 2-on-1 rush at 8:27. The goal was Tampa Bay’s league-leading 263rd of the season, breaking the franchise record set in 2014-15.
Sergachev made it 6-3 on the power play for his ninth with 8:38 remaining in the second, ending Gibson’s night.
Miller got his second of the game as he scored from the left side on the power play to make it a four-goal game with his 20th with 1:40 left in the middle period.
The Lightning, who didn’t travel to the New York area until earlier in the day because of the snowstorm in the northeast on Wednesday, got on the scoreboard with two quick goals.
Cirelli scored on a wraparound off Gibson’s stick 2:09 into the first period, and Johnson made it 2-0 just 26 seconds later on a wrister from the right circle for his 21st.
The Islanders were on a 4-on-3 power play when Pulock fired a one-timer from the left faceoff dot to make it 2-1 with 9:36 remaining in the opening period.
Hedman restored the Lightning’s two-goal lead from the left circle for his 14th with 5:43 to go in the first.
NOTES: Miller has seven goals and 12 points in 11 games since being acquired from the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. … Gourde now has 58 points, second among rookies — trailing only the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, who leads with 76. … Point topped the century mark and now has 101 points in his career. … The teams split their first two meetings, both at Tampa. The Islanders won 5-3 on Nov. 18, and the Lightning were 6-2 winners on Dec. 5. … Barzal had an assist on Beauvillier’s second goal for his 56th assist, breaking a tie with Nicklas Backstrom (2007-08) for the second-most by a rookie since 1995. Penguins star Sidney Crosby tops the list with 63 in 2005-06. … New York scored on the power play for the fourth straight game and is 9 for 18 in that stretch.
Lightning: At New Jersey on Saturday night.
Islanders: Host Chicago on Saturday night.
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