Lightning take over top spot by beating Blues
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[December 13, 2017]
ST. LOUIS -- Andrei Vasilevskiy
had revenge on his mind when he stepped on the ice for the Tampa Bay
Lightning's game Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues.
Vasilevskiy had started only one previous game in St. Louis in his
career and it was a night he wished he could forget.
On Dec. 1, 2016, Vasilevskiy allowed four goals in just over 21
minutes and was pulled from the game as the Blues went on to a 5-4
"It wasn't my best game," he recalled.
Vasilevskiy had a much more enjoyable evening on Tuesday as he
recorded his third shutout of the season and earned his 20th victory
in a 3-0 win that extended the Lightning's winning streak to five
He became the sixth goalie in NHL history to reach the 20-win mark
in his first 25 appearances of the season.
The win also put the Lightning back in sole possession of the top
spot in the NHL standings, breaking a tie with the Blues, who lost
for the first time in five games.
Vasilevskiy made 32 saves and also benefitted from several missed
chances by the Blues, who failed to convert two 2-on-1 breaks in the
second period and saw Vladimir Sobotka miss a wide open net midway
through the third period.
"It was a tough challenge for us but the guys played pretty well in
front of me," Vasilevskiy said. "Overall, I thought we played well.
I played my game, too."
The Lightning gave Vasilevskiy the only goal he would need with 45
seconds left in the first period when Brayden Point got his own
rebound of a shot that hit the post and took advantage of the second
chance, beating Jake Allen for his 13th goal of the season. He has
scored in each of the last four games, the longest streak of his
That lead stood up until Nikita Kucherov added his 21st goal of the
season at 13:37 of the third period, which came on the shift after
Sobotka's missed opportunity to tie the game.
"I missed the empty net," Sobotka said. "It is what it is. It
happens. I don't know what to tell you; I missed the net and it
could have been 1-1 and they score on the next shift."
Tampa coach Jon Cooper thought Vasilevskiy saved the game for the
Lightning in the second period.
"We let them have a chance to come right back in the game and our
goalie had to bail us out," Cooper said. "We made our goalie have to
stress out getting a shutout."
Both Blues coach Mike Yeo and Allen also gave credit for the win to
[to top of second column]
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and center Yanni Gourde
(37) defend the net against St. Louis Blues center Brayden Schenn
(10) during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit:
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
"We generated opportunities but obviously there's some nights where
the goalie deserves some credit," Yeo said. "That guy's pretty good.
That's a good team we played tonight. I thought we gave ourselves a
good chance. We didn't finish, we didn't capitalize, but if we keep
playing like that then we will get good results.
"This is not a night where you come in here and beat people up. It
was a good effort but it wasn't enough. We'll find a way to get
Added Allen, "I didn't think we made it hard enough on Vasilevskiy.
He's been the best goalie in the league this year and it's not even
really close. We put pucks on net but it was pretty easy for him."
Tyler Johnson scored the final Lightning goal into an empty net with
22 seconds to play.
The Blues were shut out for the third time this season, all of which
have been at home.
The Lightning also broke a five-game losing streak in St. Louis with
their first win on the road against the Blues since Dec. 18, 2009.
"It was finally nice to win here," Cooper said. "I coached junior
here (in St. Louis). We had a lot of success but just haven't had it
in the NHL coming to this building so definitely nice, especially a
team that has the most points in the Western Conference. It's a big
confidence builder for us."
NOTES: The Blues placed D Alex Pietrangelo on injured reserve
because of a lower-body injury, meaning he will be out at least a
week. ... D Jordan Schmaltz was recalled from San Antonio of the AHL
and was in the lineup as D Jay Bouwmeester also was scratched
because of what was described as a "nagging" injury. ... RW Sammy
Blais also was sent back to San Antonio. ... Lightning D Braydon
Coburn (undisclosed injury) participated in the morning skate, and
the team hopes he can play later on their road trip, which continues
Thursday night at Arizona. ... The Blues' homestand continues
Thursday night against Anaheim.
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