Vasilevskiy shines as Bolts beat Blues

by Gary Shelton on December 12, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy stopped all 32 shots./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy stopped all 32 shots./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 2 a.m.

In a match of NHL titans, Andrei Vasilevskiy was the biggest of them all.

Vasilevskiy pitched his third shutout of the season Tuesday night, stopping all 32 shots in a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. St. Louis had come in tied with the Lighting with wins and points.

The Bolts won, however, behind Vasilevskiy's play and goals from Brayden Point,

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Brayden Point scored the first goal for the Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

Brayden Point scored the first goal for the Bolts./STEVEN MUNCIE

Nikita Kucherov's 21st goal of the season and an empty netter by Tyler Johnson.

"In the second period, we let them have a chance to get right back in the game and our goalie had to bail us out," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "And then, our third period, we scored in the third, we had some chances actually to extend it, but in the end, we were just careless. We made our goalie have

Kucherov scored his 21st goal./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Kucherov scored his 21st goal./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

to stress out getting a shutout when I don’t think we needed to do that. That’s what happens, you turn pucks over, especially to a team like that, a real good team, it can burn you. We were just very fortunate tonight our goalie was up to the task.”

More and more, that seems to be the case. Vasilevskiy has 20 wins on the season, and he's allowed two goals or less in 16 of his 25 starts.

"I’ll be honest, this is my fifth year with the team, and I don’t think I remember winning in this building," Cooper said. "It was finally nice to win here. I coached junior here. We had a lot of success in junior but just hadn’t had it in the NHL coming to this building. So, definitely nice, especially a team that’s got the most points in the Western Conference. It’s a big confidence builder for us.”

Johnson had an assist to go with his goal, which was his fourth multi-point game in his last five.

“Yeah, I thought we played well in that first period," Johnson said. "The second left a little bit to be desired there, but in the third we responded. We kept our lead. Vasy was huge for us when we needed him. I think you can’t really say overall it was a good win, but we’re glad we got three points.”

Johnson said that the win was because of Vasilevskiy.

“He’s big for us every night," Johnson said. "He’s been a guy that you can rely on night after night. You don’t like doing that, but he’s very talented. He can make those big saves for us and that’s the reason why you win games.”

Vasilevskiy had his 7th career shutout.

“They’re definitely the best team on the ice," Vasilevskiy said. "This was a tough challenge for us, but I thought guys played really well in front of me, lots of blocks. Yeah, maybe a couple turnovers in the second, but overall, I thought they played really well.”

Last year's game was rougher for Vasilevskiy.

“It’s a pretty good feeling, especially last year," Vasilevskiy said. "I played a tougher game, gave up like four goals and it wasn’t my best game. It’s a good feeling, but as I said, guys played very well. Our team deserved the shutout.”

The Lightning, on a five-game winning streak, plays in Arizona against the Coyotes Thursday. The puck drops at 9 p.m.

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