Hartman scores in 3rd straight; Wild beat Lightning 4-2
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Ryan Hartman broke a 2-all tie midway through the third period, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Sunday.
Hartman scored for the third straight game and has goals in five of the last six games to give him 12 on the season. Nick Bjugstad, Victor Rask and Marcus Foligno also scored for Minnesota, which has won three in a row and scored the most goals in the NHL since Nov. 2.
“Every time he touches the puck in the slot, you kind of figure it’s going in,” Bjugstad said of Hartman. “He’s a great player and he’s really finding his way here in the Wild sweater. Good teammate, tough player. Guys don’t like playing against him, I don’t think. Just a huge, huge player for us.”
Corey Perry scored for the second time in three games for Tampa Bay. Alex Killorn added his first goal in 11 games, tying the game in the second period.
Kirill Kaprizov went to the net after collecting the puck near the side boards and passed across for Hartman, who spun and delivered a quick shot past Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy 9:15 into the third.
“When you’re drifting, the puck kind of drifts with you,” Hartman said. “Sometimes you try to overcompensate. Those kind of shots, really, I’m just trying to get on net.”
Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots for the Lightning, who had won three games in a row and six of seven.
“That third goal is on me,” Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman said. “For some reason, I thought they had three guys in the corner and kind of left the guy alone in front. Small differences in the game that cost us at the end, but I think overall it was good.”
Minnesota’s Cam Talbot made 28 saves.
Bjugstad opened the scoring midway through the first after picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone. He skated down the side and outraced Mathieu Joseph, turning the corner before sneaking the puck past Vasilevskiy’s left shoulder in a small window in the corner of the goal.
Perry answered 48 seconds later with a quick wrist shot from the faceoff circle past Talbot. But Rask, who had been a healthy scratch the previous two games, scored his third goal of the season before the end of the first.
“The commitment level was really high tonight and obviously when you’re playing against the Stanley Cup champions, our guys are really dialed in,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We made a couple turnovers but certainly in those last empty net, they were real committed. We had great blocks. Good sticks. Yeah, we were really happy.”
Killorn, who had scored seven goals in his first nine games, scored for the first time since Nov. 1 with a wrist shot through traffic for the only goal of the second.
Post season caliber
The Lightning beat Minnesota 5-4 in a shootout in Tampa Bay on Nov. 21 to snap a four-game losing streak to the Wild. Minnesota has points in 12 of its past 15 games against the Lightning and is 6-0-1 in the past seven.
“The hockey they play is probably some postseason hockey,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “I’ve seen it before with us, hence two good teams going at it. … Two games that went down to the wire and probably fitting for two quality teams in each conference. It’s no more for them, we’re done playing them, so I guess if we play them again it’s probably a good year for both of us.”
Less than full strength
Wild F Mats Zuccarello was scratched with an upper-body injury. He also missed the third period of Friday’s win against Winnipeg. Captain Jared Spurgeon missed his fourth game with a lower-body injury and is considered week-to-week.
Joseph went to the locker room after a second-period collision with Hartman and didn’t return for Tampa Bay. Cooper said the injury was unrelated to the collision and more is expected to be known on Monday.
The Lightning were still without D Erik Cernak due to his upper-body injury. He missed his eighth game with Cal Foote in the lineup on Sunday, but Cooper said he’d be a game-time decision for Tuesday’s game. Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov are out with longer-term injuries. Point was scratched for his fourth straight game and he’s out four to six weeks.
Lightning: Finish a two-game trip at St. Louis on Tuesday.
Wild: Host Arizona on Tuesday as part of a five-game homestand.