TAMPA — Before the puck dropped between the Lightning and Kraken on Friday night at Amalie Arena, it already was an emotional night.
Former Lightning forward and fan favorite Yanni Gourde was back for the first time since the Kraken claimed him in the expansion draft last summer, and Tampa Bay had a pregame ceremony for former TV play-by-play broadcaster Rick Peckham, who was honored at the Hockey Hall of Fame this month as the recipient of the 2020 Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.
But the Lightning were not distracted. They shut out the Kraken 3-0 as goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy got his 200th career regular-season win.
“It’s a big achievement,” Vasilevskiy said. “I’m proud of it. Obviously, I want to thank my teammates for that because I can’t win on my own, so it’s just great teamwork.”
Vasilevskiy, 27, made 17 saves in registering his second shutout of the week and the season. It was the first time the Kraken were held scoreless through their first 20 games.
The Lightning (12-4-3) got goals from Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, his first of the season; Ross Colton, and Steven Stamkos.
Vasilevskiy got his 200 wins in 318 starts, the second-fewest number of starts needed to reach the mark in NHL history, behind Hall of Famer Ken Dryden’s 309.
Colton, in his second season with the Lightning, still has moments when he watches the goaltender in awe.
“He’s unbelievable,” Colton said. “He’s obviously the best for a reason. … He follows a strict regimen, and he’s got to stick to it because it’s obviously working. Night in and night out we count on him, maybe too much sometimes … because we know that he’s back there.”
Vasilevskiy adds the win mark to his two Stanley Cups and his 2019 Vezina Trophy victory. He also has been a Vezina finalist for four straight seasons.
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“Six years in the league and people are considering who the best goalies in the league are, and his name is in the top three every single year,” coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday. “Now it’s inching up to arguably the best goalie in the league, and to do that at such a young age, that’s pretty impressive.”
The game came to a brief halt early in the second period after Lightning forward Boris Katchouk raced toward Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer and was rammed by defenseman Jamie Oleksiak just outside the crease.
Katchouk spun, fell and hit his head on one of the goal posts before landing under the net.
He stayed on the ice for about a minute, talking with head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan. He skated off under his own power to the bench before walking down the tunnel.
Katchouk returned to the bench with nearly four minutes remaining in the period and took his first shift back with 2:52 left.
“He’s a warrior,” Colton said. “He battles night in and night out.”
Stamkos’ goal was his team-leading 11th of the season and his team-leading 23rd point.
“I was just glad it was a great night,” Cooper said after the game. “To get a win also kind of tops it off because there were a lot of good moments, and this was a special night.”
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