TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning are off to a strong start in the NHL playoffs.

The top seed in the Eastern Conference got early goals from four players – none of themnamed Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos – before holding off the New Jersey Devils for a 5-2 victory Thursday night in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde scored, helping the Lightning build a 3-0 lead that New Jersey trimmed to one goal before Alex Killorn and Kucherov, who added an empty-netter with 1:12 remaining, finished off the win.

Taylor Hall scored an unassisted goal in the second period, then assisted on Travis Zajac’s power-play goal that trimmed the Devils’ deficit to 3-2 midway through third against Andrei Vasilievskiy, who had 29 saves for Tampa Bay.

Killorn’s shot over the glove of goalie Kevin Kincaid restored a two-goal lead before Kucherov, who led the Lightning with 100 points this season, ensured there would be no comeback.

NOTES

KINGS: Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty was suspended for one game for an illegal check to the head of Vegas Golden Knights forward William Carrier during Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

“I thought it was a bad hit, but it’s not for me to decide,” Vegas Coach Gerard Gallant said after Vegas’ 1-0 victory. “The referee didn’t think it was a penalty but I’m sure people will look at that hit and make a decision on it.”

Doughty will miss Game 2 on Friday night in Las Vegas. He delivered the blow at 9:58 of the third period, sending Carrier to the locker room for the remainder of the game.

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