Bolts can’t survive another road trip

by Gary Shelton on January 7, 2024

in general

Vasilevskiy is 9-9 on the season./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

His teammates call him “the best goaltender in the world.”

When it comes to Andrei Vasilevskiy these days, here’s a question:

What world are they talking about?

Vasilevskiy’s struggles continued in Saturday night’s 7-3 spanking at the habs of the Boston Bruins. Vasilevskiy gave up six goals on just 26 shots, and his record fell to 9-9. He has lost four out of five games.

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Did the Lightning rush Vasilevskiy in his return from back surgery? Is he still in glorified preseason? It’s fair to wonder. Coming into the game, Vasilevskiy was  ranked 43rd in the league in save percentage and 38th in goals against.

Granted, Boston has been better all season long. The Bruins are 24-8-6 this year. The up-and-down Bolts, still searching for traction, are just 19-17-5 at the halfway point of the season. Tampa Bay is just 8-12-2 on the road.

Things actually started good for the Bolts. The game was just 21 seconds old with Brayden Point scored the first of his two goals. Nikita Kucherov scored his  28th goal in the second period, and the Bolts trailed just 4-3 at the start of the third period.

Ah, but the Bruins scored three times in the third period , including a short-handed goal and an empty-netter.

'It was a weird game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “A lot of weird goals going in the net. I think we only gave up three shots in the third period. Boston’s a heck of a team, but we felt it could have been a winnable game, and you look gulp, and it’s 7-3. That’s a little bit of a head-scratcher to me.”

Tampa Bay returns home Tuesday to face the Los Angelos Kings at Amalie Arena at 7 p.m.

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