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Nikita Kucherov’s fancy move gets shootout victory for Lightning

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Nikita Kucherov brought the playground to Buffalo Saturday night.

In a shootout against the Sabres, Kucherov, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, swept toward the goal. He shot, then whipped his stick over the puck as it slid past Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner.

“He brought the schoolyard to the big stage,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “You better score on that, and he did.”

Tyler Johnson scored in regulation, and Brayden Point and Kucherov scored in the shootout for a 2-1 win.

Ryan O’Reilly scored in regulation for Buffalo.

“It definitely was on purpose,” Tyler Johnson said. “He does it in practice all the time. I think a lot of people mess around doing that but you never think in a NHL game. But that’s Kuch. That’s going to be a goal that’s on YouTube forever, so I can’t wait to see it.”

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy won his third straight game for the Bolts, stopping 31 of 32 shots in regulation and two more in overtime.

The Bolts are now within three points of the Islanders for the final wild-card slot.

Tampa Bay is home on Monday night against the Rangers.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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