Bolts win big on Big Cat’s return

by Gary Shelton on November 25, 2023

in general

Vasilevskiy had a good return./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

If this is the difference that one man can make in a team, perhaps it is time for the Tampa Bay Lightning to see if Andrei Vasilevskiy has a younger brother.

Vasilevskiy, coming off back surgery, had missed the first few weeks of the NHL season. It showed, despite a better-than-expected relief job from Jonas Johansson. Vasilevskiy always has a way of bringing energy, and in providing trust, to the Bolts.

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Kucherov and Point combied for five goals, 11 points./TIM WIRT

“I like the fact we held hem them to 12 even-strength shots. We talked about that this morning  and they didn’t get much at all.

"He's (Vasilevskiy) one of the best players on our team, if not the best," Cooper said. "The momentum swings when you have your full arsenal."

Friday night, in an 8-2 clobbering of the Carolina Hurricanes, he was back. His friends couldn’t wait to show off for him.

For instance:

— Brayden Point had  three goals — his second hat trick of the season — and had a four point night.

— Nikita Kucherov had six points and retook the lead in the NHL for points. He had two goals himself.

— Brandon Hagel had three points. Steven Stamkos had two — a goal and an assist. Luke Glendening also scored. Four of the Bolts’ goals came on the power play.

The Bolts scored their eight goals on just 14 shots. Tampa Bay had just one shot on goal in the first period.

Vasilevskiy won his 264th game for the Lightning. He stopped 22 of 24 shots.

The Bolts scored on four of their five power plays. Carolina scored once on six power plays.

The Bolts visit the Columbus Blue Jackets Monday night at 9 p.m.

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