Defense gives Lightning a 2-1 series lead

by Gary Shelton on August 15, 2020

in general

Vasilevskiy didn't have to work hard / CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

This time, it wasn't about how many shots the other goalie stopped.

It was about how few that Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had to.

Vasilevskiy could have spent most of Saturday's game playing video games on his iPhone in Saturday's 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, a win that gave the Bolts a 2-1 series lead in their Stanley Cup playoff series.

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Vasilevskiy faced only four shots in the second period and only three in the third (just 17 overall) as the Bolts' defense swarmed the Blue Jackets. The Bolts had goals from Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and Victor Hedman in the victory.

In all, Tampa Bay outshot Columbus 34-17 in the game. Joonas Korpisalo of the Jackets had 31 more stopped shots (giving him 152 in three games), but the Bolts were able to find a bit more space to work with.

Tampa Bay killed three early penalties, including a 5-on-3 in the first period.

”That’s the thing with 5-on-3s, especially in the playoffs," Killorn said. "They can create momentum either way. We were fortunate that one (shot) hit the post.  When you kill those off, it creates such a momentum for your team going forward. I was happy with the kill and even happier with the way we played after that."

Goaltenders love it when they face a few shots, but they do like a certain rhythm to their game. Vasilevskiy thinks he's done a better job coping with inactivity lately.

“That’s a big challenge for me, no question," Vasilevskiy said. "I didn’t do well last year. They didn’t shoot at all then, either. we had a few adjustments this season."

Game Four is Monday afternoon at 3 p.m.

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