Erik Cernak notched a goal and two assists Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their dominance over the visiting Dallas Stars with a 6-2 win.
The victory by the Lightning (36-14-3, 75 points) enabled them to tie the idle Florida Panthers in points in the Central Division, with Tampa Bay owning a game in hand.
However, Nashville’s 3-2 regulation loss in Columbus allowed Dallas (21-18-14, 56 points) to remain mathematically alive. The Stars do not hold the regulation-wins tiebreaker against the Predators.
Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point and Alex Killorn posted a goal and an assist. Ross Colton and Mikhail Sergachev also scored for the Lightning, who are 6-0-1 in their past seven games and 6-1 against Dallas.
Playing in his 300th NHL game, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves and improved to 18-2-0 on home ice. He owns an NHL-high 31 wins.
Tyler Seguin scored in his second consecutive game back after missing seven months due to hip surgery, and Andrej Sekera tallied for the Stars, who are 0-3-2 in their past five games.
Goalie Jake Oettinger stopped 14 shots, and right winger Blake Comeau skated in his 900th career NHL game.
In the first period, Killorn stole the puck from defenseman Miro Heiskanen, and a carom off a skate delivered it to Johnson in the slot. The forward then scored for the first time in 22 games – breaking a streak that dated back to March 21 when he scored the game-winning goal against Florida.
However, Dallas tied it after Jason Robertson chipped a puck down the half-boards. Joe Pavelski grabbed it and fed a pass to Seguin, who popped it in with 27 seconds left.
It was the Stars’ first goal in Amalie Arena since Dec. 19, 2019 – a game-winning marker by Seguin in a 4-3 overtime victory.
In the second period on their fourth power play overall, the Lightning finally cashed in when Killorn shoveled in his 15th marker. Point soon stripped defenseman Esa Lindell near the right circle and backhanded home his club-best 23rd with 14 seconds left.
Sekera trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with his third goal and 50th of his career at 10:44 of the third, but Cernak slapped in his fifth goal of the season 50 seconds later to regain the two-goal edge.
Colton and Sergachev scored empty-net goals late in the third for the final margin.
–Field Level Media