NEWS

Avalanche ends long road trip with loss at Lighting



TAMPA, Fla. — NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 on Thursday night.

Kucherov picked up his 93rd point on a goal that made it 4-3 at 8:13 of the third. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, second in points, increased his total to 89 with two assists.

Thursday was the first day in NHL history to feature five Stanley Cup Final rematches, with one involving the two Art Ross Trophy race leaders going head-to-head. Colorado beat Tampa Bay in the 2022 Final.

MacKinnon missed about 10 minutes in the second after teammate Jonathan Drouin’s pass was deflected by Tampa Bay’s Nicholas Paul and hit him in the nose. The center left last Saturday’s game at Florida after hitting his chin on the ice.

Colorado went ahead 3-2 when Artturi Lehkonen deflected MacKinnon’s shot 3:40 into the third with Kucherov off for interference. Steven Stamkos pulled the Lightning even on a breakaway goal 20 seconds later off a pass by Kucherov.

Stamkos tied Keith Tkachuk for 34th place all-time with 538 goals.

Tampa Bay also got a goal from Brayden Point, while Anthony Cirelli and Nick Perbix had empty-net goals. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves.

Defenseman Bowen Byram scored twice for the Avalanche, who completed a six-game road trip at 1-4-1. Backup goalie Justus Annunen stopped 33 shots in his third game this season.

Byram’s second goal tied it at 2 late in the second.

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