After the Tampa Bay Lightning were throttled 8-1 in Dallas on Saturday afternoon, they bounced back with a 4-0 win against Dallas on Monday. The Lightning managed to completely flip the script from Saturday after allowing a season high eight goals. Against the same team, the Lightning held them to zero in round two.
Nikita Kucherov recorded a goal and an assist in the first period for his league leading 42nd point of the season. His performance also marked his 10th straight game with a point.
One Thousand Games for the Big Man
While the Lightning had a nice performance on Monday, the night was owned by Victor Hedman who skated in his 1,000th game in the NHL. Hedman became just the third player in Lightning history and the first defenseman to reach the thousand game mark with the club. Pretty fitting for the best defenseman in franchise history.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Hedman still recorded nearly 24 minutes of ice time to go along with two blocked shots. In honor of one of the best defensemen in the NHL, the Lightning ended up playing one of their best defensive games of the season on the way to their third shutout as a team.
How does the best goalie in the game respond to giving up six goals and being pulled after two periods in his last start? By pitching a shutout against that same team the next time. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 25 Dallas shots on the way to getting his first shutout of the year in just his fifth start since returning from injury.
Vasilevskiy is essentially never pulled. Saturday was an anomoly so him returning to action after getting pulled is somewhat uncharted water. The ability for Vasilevskiy to bounce back “shows why he is the best in the world” said Jon Cooper after the game.
During their recent struggles, the Lightning offense has become a bit top-heavy. Kucherov continues to drive the bus for the Lightning but their depth really chipped in offensively Monday night. Anthony Cirelli netted a pair of goals and Luke Glendening also added a goal as well on a third period breakaway.
Cirelli coming up with two goals was huge. Many are expecting him to produce more offensively despite remaining steady on the defensive side of the puck. If Cirelli is able to get to around the 20 goal mark, that would make a solid season for him offensively. His career high was set during the 2018-19 season with 19 goals and he can definitely clear that mark again.