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Vasilevskiy’s efforts dim Stars, lift Lightning to victory

Photo Courtesy Wayne Masut | Senior Staff Photographer

The Tampa Bay Lightning touched down in Dallas on Tuesday night seeking to ignite a spark against the Dallas Stars. Following a 5-1 loss Sunday in New York, the Lightning looked to rebound and return to their winning ways.

Thanks to the efforts of Andrei Vasilevskiy, the Lightning closed out their three-game road trip with a victory over a Western Conference opponent. Vasilevskiy stopped all 35 shots he faced, while Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev provided all the offense the Bolts would need in a 2-0 victory over the Stars at American Airlines Center. Sergachev’s goal was his second of the season, giving him points in four of the Lightning’s last five games. Vasilevskiy’s shutout was his third of the season, with two of them following losses in the past week. Tampa Bay extended their lead over the Calgary Flames for the top record in the NHL to 10 points with the win.

Energizing First Period

In the first period, the Lightning and Stars came out of their respective locker rooms playing a fast and entertaining first period, featuring end-to-end, action, hits, and plenty of puck battles. There wasn’t a break in the action for about five minutes, showing how the game would fair the rest of the night. At the 7:55 mark of the first, Palat scored on a beautiful feed from Steven Stamkos. His goal extended his point streak to four games. Tampa Bay maintained a good amount of pressure on Dallas in the period, which would be in stark contrast to the rest of the game. The Lightning attempted 20 shots in the opening period, putting 13 of them on net. Their overall effort in the first 20 minutes represented their best opening period in four games.

Shooting Stars

In the second period, Dallas absolutely dominated Tampa Bay, playing fast and spending a large chunk of time in the Lightning zone. The Stars ended up racking up six minutes in power play time after a set of two penalties from Victor Hedman for holding call and unsportsmanlike conduct. The top power play unit, featuring Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov, stormed the net with the man-advantage. However, a combined effort from Vasilevskiy, Anton Stralman, Anthony Cirelli, and the rest of the penalty killing unit held Dallas at bay. Despite giving up 13 shots and only mustering two, Tampa Bay maintained their one-goal lead.

Massive chances for Dallas, but no capitalization

Dallas picked up right where they left off as they continued to control play in the third period. They created several high-quality chances as the Lightning were called for three more penalties in the third period. Eventually, Sergachev put the game out of reach when his shot from the point beat Stars goalie Anton Khudobin, putting the Lightning up 2-0 and providing the game’s final score. In games following a loss this season, Vasilevskiy has a 7-0-0 record with a .975 save percentage. With his shutout, he has taken sole position of second place in team history with 15 career shutouts.

The Lightning return to action on Thursday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 pm.

Our Three Stars Of The Game

3rd Star: Ondrej Palat – Scored the opening goal for Tampa Bay and extended his point streak to four games.

2nd Star: The Lightning penalty kill – Impressive play from the PK unit, highlighted by Anton Stralman, Anthony Cirelli, Dan Girardi, and some good goaltending kept the Stars scoreless on six power play chances.

1st Star: Andrei Vasilevskiy – Vasilevskiy played out of his mind and bailed the Lightning out on several occasions, especially with his team facing a barrage of Dallas power plays. This was Vasilevskiy’s second shutout in the last week.

 

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