Bolts Strike Avs 5-0 Behind Vasilevskiy Shutout
By Michael Wax
The Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-0, getting Andrei Vasilevskiy his first shutout of the 2022-23 season. Nick Paul, who was injured on Tuesday's game against San Jose, sat out despite taking morning skate. Cal Foote replaced him as the Lightning went 11F/7D. Here are a three things we noticed from the win.
Vasy, Vasy, Vasy
Andrei Vasilevskiy had a very rough game on Monday, allowing seven goals against the Panthers even while making 42 saves. While the goals against weren't all his fault (the giveaway was), Vasilevskiy seems to take these types of performances to heart. He certainly did in this outing, making 30 saves and collecting his first regular-season shutout in 85 games. The Big Cat made some huge saves, including a breakaway save on Matt Nieto early in the second to keep it 1-0 Lightning.
While the Bolts certainly did put up a better defensive effort, Vasilevskiy was there to act as the last line of defense, and did that to perfection.
Second Line Stories
With Nick Paul out of the lineup and Steven Stamkos being bumped to the first line, the Lightning decided to reunite the line of Hagel-Cirelli-Killorn. This line struggled mightily in the playoffs last year offensively, and started to slip defensively with the injuries that piled up. In this one, they showed how good they could be at full strength. Each of the members of that line had at least two points, with Killorn (3 A) and Hagel (2 G, 1 A) putting up three-point nights. While the first goal was a product of Corey Perry's smooth hands on the power play, both of Hagel's goals were the result of hard-nosed but smart transition plays by Cirelli and Killorn respectively.
It remains to be seen how long Paul will be out for, but this line showing what it can do should give Lightning fans more optimism.
If there's one big thing that the Lightning have been inconsistent at during their run of domination, it's been their abilities to win faceoffs. Against Colorado, and without one of their top faceoff men in Paul, the Bolts took that challenge to heart. The ended the night by winning 69.4% of their draws, with none of the centers under 50%. In fact, all of the centers except for Namestnikov were above 60%. It was a statement, one the Lightning badly needed.
1. Vasilevskiy (TBL)
2. Hagel (TBL)
3. Cirelli (TBL)
The Lightning's next game will be against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1 PM.
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