Not even Vasilevskiy can save Bolts

by Gary Shelton on November 4, 2022

in general

Vasilevskiy allowed the Bolts to get a point./TIM WIRT

Friday, 4 a.m.

In the end, not even Andrei Vasilevskiy, at his best, was enough for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Bolts lost a 4-3 shootout decision to the flying Carolina Panthers Thursday night despite a terrific game by Vasilevskiy, who made a staggering 53 saves -- the second most of his career -- in the defeat.

Vasilevskiy, however, gave up two shootout goals to decide the game.

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Colton scored in regulation and the shootout./TIM WIRT

The Bolts had a tough night. For the second straight game, they gave up a short-handed goal -- this one for the tying goal with 6:26 to play by Brady Skjei.

“If that’s happening, you’re not playing very well," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "If that’s happening, you're turning the puck over at an alarming rate. And that’s what we did. That’s the product of playing poorly, and that’s what happens."

The Hurricanes outshot the Bolts 15-8 in the first period, 21-11 in the second and 14-4 in the third. Their final five shots came in overtime.

It was the most shots Vasilevskiy has faced since March 20. 2019 in a 5-4 win over Washington. He faced 54 shots that night.

"That’s why he’s one of the best in the league, the best in the world," said teammate Corey Perry. "Some of the saves he makes, you just shake your head. It’s every night he’s making those saves. We definitely let him down tonight."

For the Bolts, goals came from Ross Colton, Nick Paul and Nikita Kucherov. Colton scored their only shootout goal.

"We had a one-goal lead with under 10 to go and gave up a shortie," Cooper said. "It’s happened two games in a row. Special teams hurt us. Instead of putting them away or getting momentum, we gave up the shortie. That’ s a tough one to swallow.

"We trying to make plays that probably aren’t there. At times, that's been an issue. It was an issue tonight.

The Bolts play Buffalo on Saturday night at Amalie Arena at 7 p.m.

Kucherov scored his fifth goal./TIM WIRT

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