Lightning-Blues: Rewinding Tampa Bay’s first shutout of the season

The Lighting isn’t scoring like it used to. Andrei Vasilevskiy makes another great save(s).
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) battles to keep up with the play against St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) during first period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) battles to keep up with the play against St. Louis Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) during first period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Published February 8
Updated February 8

TAMPA—Where has all the scoring gone? A month ago, the Lightning was consistently scoring four or more goals. Recently, it has been a different story.

Tampa Bay has only reached that mark once (six against San Jose) in the last nine games. It has been held to two or fewer in seven.

On Thursday, the Lightning was shut out for the first time.

“You score a bunch of goals and you give up a bunch of goals,” coach Jon Cooper said after the 1-0 loss. “Now we’re not scoring, but we’re not giving anything up. At some point, we have to find a happy medium.”

Overall, Cooper likes the Lightning’s play recently. He’d like more goals, but he’s not necessarily worried.

“You’re not going to score at the rate we’ve been scoring all year,” he said. “Sometimes you have to go through some of these trying times to see ultimately what doesn’t work. But in saying that, we’ve played a couple of 0-0 hockey games in the past week that have been outstanding.”

Here are some odds and ends from the loss:

Andrei Vasilevskiy did what? He made two saves in the span of a couple of seconds (with help from the post in between). First, Colton Parayko battled past Ryan McDonagh to put a shot on Vasilevskiy at the left post. Then Parayko grabbed his rebound and hit the post. Vasilevskiy lost his stick in the process of making the save and flipping to face the next one coming from the other side. Brayden Schenn shot low and the still-sprawled Vasilevskiy caught the puck in the upper chest. All of this happened in the span of two or three seconds.

Vasilevskiy no longer perfect. Speaking of the goalie … Vasilevskiy had never lost to St. Louis … until Thursday. He is now 3-1 against the Blues. He came into the game with a .936 save percentage against St. Louis, having allowed seven goals on 109 shots. He also lost consecutive games for the first time; he had been 9-0 after a loss.

13 years old with a strong voice. Marissa Peddie sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem before Thursday’s game. The 13-year-old was recognized before the game as a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with leukemia at age 8.

A new opponent. Having now seen the Blues, there is only one team the Lightning has yet to play this season: Washington. The Capitals, who edged the Lightning in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, visit Tampa twice in a two-week span in March. Oh, and the Lightning travel to Washington, D.C. in between.

Lineup. The forward situation may be more clear, but the defensemen are still rotating. On Thursday, it was Erik Cernak’s turn to sit out. The rookie, who scored his first goal two games ago against the Rangers, had not been scratched since the Lightning’s Jan. 15 game in Dallas. In that time Mikhail Sergachev and Braydon Coburn were each scratched twice, and Dan Girardi and Anton Stralman sat once each.

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