Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was outstanding in the team’s last contest against the Washington Capitals. He had Alex Ovechkin’s number for the majority of the night. While Ovechkin wasn’t as much of a factor in Monday’s meeting, Vasilevskiy certainly was.
Vasilevskiy and the Bolts were hoping to hand a hot Washington group their first loss in regulation this season. The only thing possibly hotter than the Caps entering action was Alex Killorn, who looked to join Vasilevskiy and make an impact in this one.
Tough bounce for Bolts to begin
The game got off to an unfortunate start for the Lightning. Victor Hedman attempted to slow up a Brett Leason shot. Instead, he deflected it past Vasilevskiy. Not even two minutes into the game it was 1-0 Caps.
Power plays pedestrian early
The goal seemed to stun the Lightning, who appeared tight and gave up five of the game’s first six shots. Eventually, though, the Bolts started to move the puck well, and Corey Perry was tripped up by Dmitry Orlov. Tampa Bay overpassed a tad on the man-advantage, specifically when Anthony Cirelli dished off to Mikhail Sergachev. Cirelli was wide open in the slot and passed up the look.
However, the Lightning did create some zone time during the back half of the power play. They had to kill the majority of a penalty to close out the frame, and two fearless Erik Cernak blocks on Alex Ovechkin fired up the sold out Amalie Arena crowd as the period ended. It was 1-0 Washington after 20 minutes.
Vasilevskiy sets tone for solid second
Early in the second period, Vasilevskiy absolutely robbed Tom Wilson. The show-stopper was a crucial one, and one of many big saves to come in the period for Vasilevskiy. Wilson received a cross-ice pass and was staring at a wide-open four-by-six, before Vasilevskiy sprawled across and knocked it away with the glove.
The save kept the game 1-0, and Vasy would later earn a chant in Amalie Arena with more incredible work late in the period. Before that, though, one Lightning stayed hot, and the power play connected to give the Bolts a lead.
Getting to the dirty areas
Right off a face-off, the third star of the final week of October in the NHL struck. Cirelli drove the net and his shot attempt found the stick of Killorn. Right place, right time, and a solid finish from Killorn for his fourth in as many games. Later, it was Cirelli’s turn during a 5-on-3 to put one home from just outside the blue paint. The power play continued to buzz 5-on-4, but the Lightning would settle for one, and a 2-1 lead after two periods of play.
Brayden’s burst gives Bolts breathing room
Early in the third, Brayden Point showcased his incredible speed and was able to burst behind the Capital defense and bury one to make it a 3-1 lead.
Later, Conor Sheary was able to get the Caps within one after back-to-back penalties gave the Caps some life. It was 3-2 for the Lightning with 8:20 remaining.
Big Cat aptly named late
After the Sheary goal, the Caps were able to throw together a solid sequence of pressure, and sustained that for the majority of the remaining time. During the final minute, a blast from the point went through the legs of a screen in front, but 88 was still able to track it and lead the Bolts to a 3-2 victory. Point’s goal stood as the game-winner on a phenomenal night for Vasilevskiy.
Our three stars of the game
- Andrei Vasilevskiy: A robbery, 31 saves, and a W.
- Anthony Cirelli: A factor all night long, and rewarded with a goal.
- Brett Leason: First career NHL goal.
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