Bolts bounce back with shutout over Dallas

by Gary Shelton on January 16, 2019 · 0 comments

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Vasilevskiy has 15 career shutouts./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Perhaps there is a reason why the Tampa Bay Lightning doesn't lose very often.

They don't like it very much.

Team Bounceback did it again Tuesday night, rebounding from Sunday's 5-1 loss to the New York Islanders with a 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. In the 11 games they have lost this season (in regulation or in overtime), they have rebounded for a 10-1 record. Only once all season have they lost back-to-back games.

During that time, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has been splendid. He's 7-0 with all three of his season's shutouts following a loss.

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For his career, Vasilevskiy has 15 career shutouts, trailing only Ben Bishop (who had 17) in franchise history. Vasilevskiy stopped 35 shots, the most he has had in a shutout this season.

Vasilevskiy is now 19-5-2 on the season.

The Bolts got their shutout even though the Stars had six power play opportunities.

“When pucks got by, Vasy was there," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He was in the zone tonight. That's how you put a goose egg on the board."

“He’s got that edge to him," captain Steven Stamkos said. "He hates to lose. He hates to give up goals. When he has an outing, it’s not even a bad outing, we just didn’t play well in front of him, but he takes it personal. We know he’s going to bounce back and he had a huge effort tonight. Obviously a big reason why we won.”

Positioning was the key, Cooper said.

"Turnovers, (we) protected the middle of the ice, didn’t give them a lot of chances. I think they had 30-plus shots with six power plays, but it didn’t equate to big scoring chances. When you do that, you have a good chance of doing what happened tonight.”

Ondrej Palat scored the Lightning's first goal. It was his third in four games. Mikhail Sergachev scored the Lightning's second, his second of the season.

“It’s frustration first and then you get energy after that," Cooper said. "The guys were frustrated a little bit with the amount of calls going against us, but they’re penalties. You’ve got to kill them off, and that’s what we did.”

Stamkos set up Palat's goal with a nice pass. He has points (10) in six of his last seven games.

“Tonight was a tough night in terms of staying out of the penalty box, but on the plus side, the PK was outstanding, Vasy was outstanding," Stamkos said."It was definitely great to see special teams in that regard step up tonight. It’s still not what we want in terms of the effort. The start was definitely better, that was something we focused on so it was nice to kind of check that off the box early. But we can’t take that many penalties and expect to win. That’s one of the most talented PK groups in the NHL. It just had an off night, so we were lucky in that regard. We need to still improve.

“(The penalty kill) does generate energy until you take another penalty and then you’re back on the PK. We were counterintuitive in that regard where you should be able to build momentum off a big kill but then when you go out the next shift and take another penalty, it kind of defeats the purpose. We were in the box far too much tonight, and we got away with one I think in them not generating probably what they wanted out there on their power play with how many opportunities they had.”

Anton Stralman enjoyed the defensive effort.

“It feels really good obviously. We made it a little bit hard for ourselves with all the penalties but did a great job killing them off. Overall, I think defensively, even though they had a lot of zone time, we didn’t give up a tremendous amount of chances.”

The Bolts return to Amalie Arena on Thursday night to face the Toronto Maple Leafs. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.








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