Behind Vasilevskiy’s 40-Saves, Lightning Blank Blackhawks

Vasilevskiy, Penalty Kill Help Lightning Out Of Rut

Tampa Bay Lightning, Chicago Blackhawks
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Chris Kunitz and Yanni Gourde scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 40 shots he faced as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Chicago Black Hawks 2-0.

The victory halts the Lightning’s season-long losing streak at three and they improve to 32-12-3 on the season.   Tampa Bay is on a 13-game point streak against Chicago, going 11-0-2 dating back to the 2010-11 season.

The Lightning’s penalty kill unit was the first star in this game, holding the Blackhawks scoreless in six attempts, including a double-minor and a 5×3.  The game winning goal scored by Chris Kunitz was a short-handed goal as well.

Kunitz was quick to credit the Lightning’s effort telling NBC Sports, “I think we had that workmanlike effort, everybody went over the boards trying to outwork the guy across from him, we found a way to get two goal against a good team.”

He also credited Andrei Vasilevskiy as the main reason for the victory saying, “He’s been our best player by far. We let him down the last 10 games or so by giving up too many chances, easy goals against him and maybe hurt his confidence. Tonight was a great win for our team and he’s the main reason we got that.”

Jeff Glass was impressive in goal for the Blackhawks stopping 29-31 shots. The loss drops the Blackhawks to 22-19-6 on the season.

Lightning Notes:

  • Chris Kunitz scored his sixth goal of the season and first since December 7th against the Colorado Avalanche.
  • It was the Lightning’s seventh shorthanded goal of the season. He joins Brayden Point (2), Tyler Johnson (2), Ondrej Palat (1), and Yanni Gourde (1).
  • Jake Dotchin and Brayden Point picked up assists on Kunitz’s goal. It was Dotchin’s seventh assist and Point’s 24th. Point now has 7-points(3-4–7) over his last five games.
  • Yanni Gourde scored his 15th goal late in the third period. Gourde entered the night third in the NHL for goals by a rookie. Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets had 15 and Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders leads the league with 16.
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his league leading seventh shutout. It was his 11th career shutout.
  • The Lightning travel to Nashville to take on the Predators Tuesday night at 8:00.

Lightning Injuries:

The Lightning will be without forward Ondrej Palat for six to eight after sustaining a lower body injury against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.  Palat was injured in what Jon Cooper called a “non-hockey” play by the Wild’s Jared Spurgeon.

Victor Hedman who was injured before the bye week. He will miss two to five more weeks of action recovering from a lower body injury.

After losing J.T. Brown to Anaheim on a waiver claim and now losing Ondrej Palat, the Bolts called up forwards Matthew Peca and Michael Bournival from Syracuse.

 

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I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.