Backup goalie snuffs San Jose for latest win

by Gary Shelton on February 2, 2020

in general

McElhinney recorded his first sutuout for the Bolts./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

There for a while, it appeared that Curtis McElhinney might as well take the day off.

He could have gone to the beach. He could have worn flip-flops onto the ice. He could have brought a magazine.

After all, for one period, the San Jose Sharks managed just two shots -- two -- against the Lightning. Not a bad way to spend an evening for McElhinney, who faced 40 or more shots in four of his first five games.

Ah, but the final two periods, McElhinney had to go to work. He faced 28 shots in the final two periods, including 18 in the second, while recording his first shutout as a member of the Lightning in a 3-0 victory.

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The Bolts are now 15-2-1 in their last 18 games and 9-2-1 in their last dozen on the road.

Why? Perhaps it's because their stars are leading the way. Nikita Kucherov scored again, his 24th and his seventh goal in the last seven games. Steven Stamkos scored his 23rd, and his fifth in the last four games. Ondrej Palat scored his 14th goal on an empty netter at the end.

"Mac was fantastic tonight," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He deserved it, especially after early in the year when we didn't have our best games in front of him. I'm really happy for him. There were a couple of nights he had to see a lot more shots than we wanted."

McElhinney is now 6-6-2 for Tampa Bay.

"It was great," McElhinney said. "It's been a little up and down for me this year."

The Lightning returns home to play Vegas on Tuesday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.


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