Nikita Kucherov scored in regulation and added the winner in the shootout as the Tampa Bay Lightning skated to a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday in the Eastern Conference round-robin tournament.
The reigning Hart Trophy recipient recorded the game-winning tally by sending the puck off the right post and into the net in the third round of the shootout.
Brayden Point also scored in the extra session for Tampa Bay (1-0-0, two points), while T.J. Oshie potted the lone goal for Washington (0-0-1, one point).
The contest, which was an extremely physical affair, was the teams' first in the round-robin tournament. The results of each of the four club's three contests will be used to determine seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Rookie Mitchell Stephens also found the net for the Lightning, who beat the Capitals for the first time in four tries this season.
Reigning Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is nominated for the top goalie award for the third straight season, stopped 31 of 33 shots -- including a breakaway by Jakub Vrana in overtime.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (lower body) did not practice with the team Sunday and was out of the lineup.
Washington's Richard Panik and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scored late in the second period goals, and netminder Braden Holtby made 26 saves.
The 2017-18 Stanley Cup champions played without star defenseman John Carlson. The Norris Trophy finalist was injured going into the end boards in an exhibition win over Carolina on Wednesday.
The NHL's second-highest points producer since the 2017-18 season opened, Kucherov scored in the first period when he accepted a feed from Point and used a quick inside-out move through the left circle and rifled home the game's first goal at 12:53.
The sharp-shooting right winger has notched 313 points over the last three seasons. Only Edmonton Oilers superstar captain Connor McDavid (321) has scored more in that span.
A hard-hitting second period by both clubs paid dividends for Tampa Bay at 7:48 when Stephens battled in front of Holtby and chipped in a loose puck for his first career playoff goal.
The Capitals came alive offensively and tied it in the final three minutes of the frame. Panik and Kuznetsov cashed in by shoving in pucks near Vasilevskiy at the goal line 2:08 apart to even the match at 2.
Tampa Bay will face the Atlantic Division rival Boston Bruins (0-1-0, zero points) on Wednesday, while Washington will play the Metropolitan Division foe Philadelphia Flyers (1-0-0, two points) on Thursday.
--Field Level Media