Vasilevskiy’s shutout helps Lightning win again

by Gary Shelton on November 29, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy notched his second shutout of the year./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy notched his second shutout of the year./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightining are winners.

The Lighting, 17-5-2 on the season, snapped a two-game losing skid with a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night. The game was the sixth career shutout -- and the second game this season -- by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy won his 16th game, which paces the NHL, by stopping 34 shots. He has now allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last seven games and 13 of his 20 starts this season.

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Sergachev  had his fourth game-winner./JEFFREY S. KING

Sergachev had his fourth game-winner./JEFFREY S. KING

The Bolts got goals from two defenseman. Mikhail Sergachev scored his sixth goal of the year (and his second power-play goal) in the first period, and Dan Girardi scored his first goal with Tampa Bay in the second period.

“That was a tough one," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "There just wasn’t flow to it. There were so many whistles. Three-quarters of the game was spent in the neutral zone. But, you look at that, it’s those games the ones you have to get two points. That game is worth the same amount as every other game. It’s not the most exciting game we’ve played all year. I’m sure it wasn’t for Buffalo either. We’ll take the points and head to Boston. We’re happy about that.”

The Sabres had more shots than Tampa Bay, but they were limited in their chances.

“We didn’t really give up much to be honest,"  Cooper said. "And then when we did give up some chances, maybe at the end when they had the goalie pulled, we kind of were a victim of ourselves there a little bit by icing so many pucks and we had the empty net there a few times we missed. Overall, defensively I thought we played pretty well and our goalie was on.”

Sergachev has impressed Cooper so far.

“If there’s one thing he can do, he can shoot a puck," Cooper said. "He’s at a young age and to have those offensive gifts that he has, he’s got a high ceiling when it comes to that. Put the puck in his wheelhouse and he can shoot it and that’s what he did tonight.”

Defenseman Victor Hedman said the key was Vasilevskiy.

“Well, he’s given us a lot of confidence," Hedman said. "The way he’s been playing at the end of last year and the beginning of this season, he’s been remarkable. He’s established himself as one of the best goalies in this league I think. Having him back there is helping us a lot. We know we can rely on (Peter) Budaj when he’s called upon too. For Vasy to have a guy like Budaj too has obviously helped him. Having (Ben Bishop) the last couple of years, I know he looked up to him a lot and learned a lot from him. You can see that in the way he’s playing the puck nowadays too. He’s getting a lot better at that. He’s just calm back there and makes those saves look easy.”

Tampa Bay concludes its road trip when it travels to Boston tonight to face the Bruins. The puck will be dropped at 7:30.




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