Vasilevskiy stops 34 shots, Lightning beat Islanders 4-0
NEW YORK (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy faced 20 shots in the third period Monday night, so there wasn’t much time for him to worry about the status of his shutout.
The Tampa Bay Lightning goalie was more worried about a victory, anyway.
Vasilevskiy made 34 saves for his third career shutout, J.T. Brown and Ryan Callahan scored 42 seconds apart in the first period and the Lightning beat the New York Islanders 4-0 on Monday night.
“We get two points, that’s most important,” Vasilevskiy said, “and the shutout is a little bounce.”
The goalie said he expected the Islanders to press in the third after being outshot 17-4 in the second.
“Usually when a team plays not that good (in the second period), they make a push in the third,” Vasilevskiy said. “We did a good job on the (penalty kill) and the game overall, blocked shots and good play. I just want to say thank you to our guys for the shutout.”
Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov scored as the Lightning won for the fourth time in seven games (4-2-1) following a three-game skid.
Steven Stamkos had two assists to help Tampa Bay complete a sweep of the three-game season series with the Islanders — all within the last 14 days — by a combined 14-2 margin.
“We sat back probably a little too much in the third and put Vasy in a tough position to make some big saves,” Stamkos said. “He earned the shutout for sure.”
Jaroslav Halak had 27 saves for New York, which was shut out for the first time this season and fell to 1-3-3 in its last seven.
“Obviously we don’t want to be in the spot we are in,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “We just have to play positive and get better. You get up tomorrow and try to get better.”
Travis Hamonic returned to the Islanders just nine days after suffering a hand injury that was expected to keep him out four to six weeks. However, New York was without fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg after he was placed on injured reserve with a broken jaw after getting hit in the face by a puck in Saturday night’s overtime loss at Florida. Scott Mayfield was an emergency recall from Bridgeport of the AHL, and the Islanders used seven defensemen and 11 forwards.
Mayfield fought with Brown about 5 1/2 minutes into the second after Brown hit Tavares. Mayfield received 17 minutes of penalties, getting whistled for instigating and a misconduct in addition to the fighting major.
Kucherov extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-0 with 5:36 left in the second by completing a give-and-go with Stamkos, snapping the puck past Halak for his sixth of the season. It was Kucherov’s fourth goal against the Islanders, including one in each of the team’s three meetings.
The Lightning made it 4-0 about 2 1/2 minutes later when Stamkos brought the puck up ice and sent a pass to the right to Namestnikov, who tipped it in for his third.
Brown got the Lightning on the scoreboard with 1:02 left in the opening period, taking a pass from Craig Paquette and flicking the puck past Halak.
Tampa Bay made it 2-0 with 20 seconds remaining when Andrej Sustr fired a shot from the right point that Callahan appeared to deflect with the shaft of his stick over Halak’s glove. It was Callahan’s first goal of the season and his 349th career point.
Kucherov nearly added to the lead in the closing seconds of the first, but the puck ricocheted of the crossbar.
NOTES: Stamkos had seven points (two goals, five assists) in the three meetings against the Islanders this season, and Kucherov had six points (four goals, two assists). ... Stamkos also has a point in six of the last eight games with three goals and seven assists. ... Tampa Bay improved to 9-0-1 this season when scoring at least three goals. ... The Islanders have lost seven straight against the Lightning, including the last four of Tampa Bay’s five-game series win in the second round of the playoffs last spring. ... New York’s Nikolay Kulemin played his 598th game.
Lightning: At Detroit on Tuesday night in the second game of a five-game trip.
Islanders: Host defending champion Pittsburgh on Friday night to complete their two-game homestand before heading out on a three-game California trip.
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