Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy celebrates with Blake Coleman, 20, left wing Ondrej Palat, 18, and defenseman David Savard after beating the Islanders in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night at Tampa, Fla. Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat delivered early goals and NHL playoff scoring leader Nikita Kucherov had three more assists to help the Tampa Bay Lightning rebound from a series-opening loss and beat the New York Islanders 4-2 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup semifinals on Tuesday night.

Kucherov had his fourth game with three or more points this postseason, assisting on goals by Point, Palat and Victor Hedman. The defending champions improved to 12-0 in games following a playoff loss since start of last year’s title run.

Point scored a goal for the fifth straight game, hiking his league-leading playoff total to 10. Palat put Tampa Bay ahead for good with a second-period goal that replays showed was scored with the Lightning having too many men on the ice.

Andrei Vasievskiy, meanwhile, stopped 24 of 26 shots for the Lightning, who entered Tuesday night facing a series deficit for the first time since dropping Game 1 of last year’s Stanley Cup final against the Dallas Stars.

Hedman and Jan Rutta scored in the third period against Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, who missed a portion of the opening period after a collision with Point a little over 13 minutes into the game.

Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal scored unassisted goals for New York, which – despite the loss – will return home feeling good about itself heading into Game 3 Thursday night.

Point, pushed from behind by New York’s Adam Pelech, barreled into Varlamov at 6:50 of the first period. The Lightning star drew a penalty for interference on the goalie, and the Islanders wasted no time taking advantage of what Tampa Bay felt was a questionable call.

Nelson’s goal from in front of the net tied it 1-1 just 20 seconds into the power play.

Ilya Sorokin replaced Varlamov for the remainder of the first period.


DEVILS: The New Jersey Devils have re-signed right wing Nathan Bastian to a two-year deal worth $1.65 million.

General Manager Tom Fitzgerald said the restricted free agent would be paid $775,000 next season and $875,000 the following year.

Bastian completed his first full NHL season with the Devils, collecting 10 points in 41 games. He led the club in hits (136) and ranked second among all NHL rookies, only two behind Montreal’s Alexander Romanov, who played 12 more games.

Bastian was one of 11 New Jersey rookies in 2020-21.

AWARD: Cancer survivor Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers has won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Lindblom returned to play in the NHL after undergoing treatment for a rare form of bone cancer. Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in December 2019 and played two games for Philadelphia during the bubble playoffs in September 2020.

The 24-year-old Swede regained his regular spot in the Flyers’ lineup this season and played 50 of 56 games. He recorded 14 points averaging just over 13 minutes of ice time.

Lindblom completed treatment in July and was again declared cancer-free following another scan in March.

San Jose’s Patrick Marleau and Minnesota’s Matt Dumba were the other finalists for the award voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Marleau broke Gordie Howe’s career games played record at age 41, and Dumba continued his efforts to fight for more diversity in hockey.

DUCKS: The Anaheim Ducks hired Geoff Ward and Mike Stothers to replace assistant coaches Mark Morrison and Marty Wilford in an overhaul of Coach Dallas Eakins’ staff. Morrison and Wilford could end up in other jobs in the organization.

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