Cirelli, Point help Lightning top Chicago Blackhawks 4-2

Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point scored 2:39 apart midway through the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Thursday night.

Mikhail Sergachev scored a power-play goal in the first period, and Cedric Paquette added an empty-netter. Backup Curtis McElhinney made 32 saves for Tampa Bay, which had dropped two in a row.

The Lightning played without NHL MVP Nikita Kucherov, who led the league last season with 128 points. Kucherov is day to day after suffering an upper-body injury in the second period of Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at St. Louis.

Steven Stamkos, who leads the Lightning with seven goals and 20 points, was held out of the second and third periods but was on the bench. He played 5:17 over nine shifts in the first.

Brent Seabrook and Dylan Strome scored for Chicago, and Corey Crawford made 31 stops. But the Blackhawks dropped their second straight since a four-game win streak.

Tampa Bay earned its eighth consecutive victory against Chicago. The Blackhawks haven’t defeated the Lightning since a 1-0 overtime win on Oct. 24, 2015, four months after Chicago beat Tampa Bay to win the Stanley Cup.

For most of the game, the Lightning checked closely and kept the Blackhawks on the perimeter.

Sergachev scored his first goal this season with 3:50 left in the first period. He fired through a screen from the top of the slot and beat Crawford low on the glove side on a power play.

Crawford made a left pad save on Cirelli’s one-timer with 5:37 left in the second to keep Chicago within a goal.

Seabrook tied it 8:27 into the third. He skated down the boards from the right point to the goal line and then lifted a shot from a sharp angle that glanced off the back of McElhinney’s left shoulder and into the net.

Cirelli got the lead back for Tampa Bay 1:44 later on a deflection of Victor Hedman’s shot from between the circles. Point made it 3-1 with 7:37 left in the third, tapping in Ondrej Palat’s feed from across the slot.

Strome converted a rebound of Patrick Kane’s shot to cut it to 3-2, but Paquette sealed it with 59.2 seconds left.

NOTES: Kane extended his point streak to 11 games (eight goals, 12 assists). ... Kucherov is second on the Lightning with 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). "Thought he'd be better when he got to the rink today, but he wasn't," coach Jon Cooper said. ... F Cory Conacher took Kucherov’s spot in the lineup. … Blackhawks F Drake Caggiula missed his fifth game under the concussion protocol. ... Chicago F Andrew Shaw was in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s practice with a hip issue. ... D Luke Schenn was a healthy scratch for the Lightning and F Dominik Kubalik was scratched for the Blackhawks, who dressed seven defensemen.


Lightning: Host Anaheim on Saturday.

Blackhawks: At Dallas on Saturday.