Lightning slide continues against Washington

by Gary Shelton on April 7, 2022

in general

Can Vasilevskiy find his second wind?/TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

He is their insurance policy. He is their security blanket. He is their backbone.

So, yeah, if you follow the Tampa Bay Lightning, you want to see Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal. You need to see Vasilevskiy in goal.

But what happens when Vasilevskiy gets tired?

There were more indications Thursday night that is the case with the Big Cat. Vasilevskiy was vulnerable again in a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, giving up four goals on only 28 shots. Vasilevskiy has now given up 11 goals in two nights, and he is 1-6 in his last seven games against teams that would be in the playoffs this year.

Meanwhile, the Bolts are spinning out of control. They are currently on a three-game losing streak, their third three-game skid in their last 15 games.

Oh, it's hard to be too tough on Vasilevskiy, who is commonly his team's best player. But Vasilevskiy has played a lot of hockey. He played 48 playoff games in the last two seasons, and 149 games in the last three regular seasons. So should the Bolts give him a breather down the stretch? They've been reluctant to do so in the past.

Granted, Vasilevskiy is not the only problem with the Bolts, who still take too many penalties, make too many silly passes and allow too many breakaway opportunities.

The Bolts fell behind 2-0 (and 3-1) in the first period against Washington.

"We fought till the end, had a look or two," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "When it’s not quite going your way, maybe it’s a special team that lets you don’t. That’s part of it. It’s the whole game coming together. Right now, we’re just missing in some areas."

Ross Colton brought the Bolts to within a goal with 2:50 to play, but the Bolts couldn't pull into a tie. Earlier, Nikita Kucherov and Nicholas Paul had scored for Tampa Bay.

"It seems like every mistake we make ends up in the back of our net," said Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos. "It’s difficult not to get frustrated. We just have to continue to work our way through it. "

John Carlson scored two goals and had two assists for Washington. Alex Ovechkin scored his 43rd goal of the season and reached 1,400 career points.

"Obviously, Carlson was hot tonight," said Cooper. "Everything he was shooting, either was scoring or somebody else was."

Tampa Bay will play agianst Boston at 7 p.m. on Friday at Amalie Arena.

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