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Vasilevskiy, Kucherov backstop Russia to 2013 WJC opening day win

by Peter Pupello / Tampa Bay Lightning

In the only action of the day regarding Lightning prospects, Bolts goaltending prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy led Team Russia to an opening-day win at the 2013 World Junior Championships, being held in his native country.

Vasilevskiy made 32 saves as he and his fellow Lightning hopefuls led the host nation to a 3-2 victory in overtime against Slovakia.

Tampa Bay forward prospect Nikita Kucherov notched the game’s opening goal to put Russia up 1-0 after waiting patiently at the side of the net and snapping a shot to beat Slovak netminder Adam Nagy off a feed from Mikhail Grigorenko.

Vasilevskiy came up with 32 saves between the pipes, leading Team Russia to a 3-2 victory over Slovakia.

That goal appeared to somewhat deflate the Slovaks, who were lucky to escape the first period down only a goal. They tested Vasilevkiy a few times, but didn’t show any signs of being able to recover from the overwhelming opening period.

Slovakia did manage to gather up some momentum, but ultimately were plagued by missed opportunities.

Richard Mraz had the puck behind the Russia goal and with no passing lane open he attempted to play the puck lacrosse style. He was unable to flip the puck onto his stick blade, though. Moments later Tomas Mikus made a nice deflection in front, but Vasilevskiy got a pad on the puck, and a little later Marko Dano blasted a shot well wide on a turnover.

With the contest tied 2-2 in overtime, Kucherov nearly gave Russia the win with a highlight-reel goal, but just missed the net by a slim margin. Teammate Albert Yarullin came to the rescue instead, sliding one past Nagy while on the power play with just 10 seconds left in the extra session to earn the victory.

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