Friday, September 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy allows six goals and still gets credit for win

TAMPA – It's not often your All-Star goalie surrenders six goals and you  credit him for the win, but the Lightning's 7-6 shootout victory Saturday against the Flyers could easily have been a loss if not for Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy made four saves in overtime, including two when the Flyers were on a power play.

"We don't win the game without him," D Victor Hedman said. "He made some unbelievable saves."

RELATED: Lightning tops Flyers in shootout.

Vasilevskiy, who leads the NHL with 38 wins (two shy of Ben Bishop's franchise record set in 2014-2015), stopped 37 shots despite allowing a season-high six goals.

"He was amazing," C Yanni Gourde said.

Coach Jon Cooper has often said it's not how many saves a goalie makes but when he makes them.

"You'll look at the box score and say it was 7-6 and say, 'What happened to the goaltenders?' But you saw what our goaltender did down the stretch when we needed him," Cooper said, "and he's a big reason why we won the game."

Playoff prep

The Lightning played its first 1 p.m. game of the season, as opposed to the Flyers, who had played seven and had a noon start. The Lightning will play another 1 p.m. Saturday against the Canadiens.

It is a good test run for a team that could face a few early afternoon starts on the weekend during the postseason.

"We didn't start the game on time," C Steven Stamkos said of the Lightning's 3-1 first-period deficit. "That was the joke. As a player, after today, I love 1 o'clock games."

Cooper said it wasn't ideal because the Lightning played back-to-back games Wednesday at home and Thursday at Dallas, and traveled Friday back to Tampa.

"It's no excuse why we had no energy in the first (period) because we had energy in the second, third and overtime, but it did take us a little bit to get going," Cooper said. "But both teams have to start at 1 p.m. It's not like it's different times, but at least we are a little bit more prepared going in to next week."

Number of the day

1,500 Professional hockey games worked by Lightning head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan, who reached that career milestone Saturday

Slap shots

  • RW Nikita Kucherov returned from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for the previous two games and matched his career high with three assists. He leads the NHL with 85 points, matching his career high, set last season.
  • C Brayden Point has four shootout goals this season and nine for his career. He has four game-deciding goals this season.
  • C J.T. Miller scored his first goal with the Lightning after being acquired at Monday’s trade deadline from the Rangers. He has three points in his past two games.
  • C Yanni Gourde earned his 50th point of the season with an assist on Miller’s goal.
  • D Dan Girardi scored his 50th NHL goal.

Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50.

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