Vasilevskiy’s shutout paces another Lightning win

by Chuck Muller on January 10, 2020

in general

Vasilevskiy posted his first shutout of the season./MIKE CROSS

Friday, 4 a.m.

Finally, an unruffled net.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has won 21 times this season. He has faced almost a thousand shots.

Finally, he has nothing.

Vasilevskiy stopped all 25 shots by the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night to notch his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory. It was the ninth straight win by the Bolts, one short of the team record.Captain Steven Stamkos called it "perhaps our best win of the year."

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Tampa Bay Nikita Kucherov scored two goals vs Arizona./MIKE CROSS

The Lightning moved into second place in the Atlantic Division with 56 points, seven behind the division-leading Boston Bruins.

For Vasilevskiy, it was his 19th career shutout. He's been close before. He has six games in which he has allowed only one goal and nine when he has allowed only two.

"I think he's the best player in the league," said Nikita Kucherov, who scored two goals, both in the second period. "He proved it tonight. He's been parking it all year."

Vasilevskiy said the team could have had a shutout before "but we always gave up a goal or two at the end."

Alex Killorn and Mikhail Sergachev both scored in the first period.

"It means a lot," said Stamkos. "He’s battled all year. We know he’s hard on himself, but he’s been outstanding -- especially in this streak.You don't win nine in a row without elite goaltending."

Arizona had won four straight games. Last time out, the Lightning snapped a seven-game winning streak by Vancouver.

"He’s been playing really well," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "Our team has been playing. It's kind of weird we’ve gone halfway through the year without one. It was bound to come at some point. 

"He made some big saves. There was the big breakaway save. You need to make one of those if your’ going to pitch a shutout."

The Lightning travels to Philadelphia on Saturday to face the Flyers. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

Killorn scores his 18th goal for the Bolts./MIKE CROSS

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