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game recap

Vasilevskiy, Kucherov help Lightning top Coyotes for ninth win in row

Goalie makes 25 saves in Tampa Bay's first shutout of season, forward scores twice

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

Vasilevskiy' 19th career shutout

ARI@TBL: Vasilevskiy stops all 25 shots in 4-0 win

Andrei Vasilevskiy stops all 25 shots faced en route to his 19th career shutout in the Lightning's 4-0 win over the Coyotes

  • 01:54 •

TAMPA -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves to help the Tampa Bay Lightning to their ninth straight win, 4-0 against the Arizona Coyotes at Amalie Arena on Thursday.

Nikita Kucherov scored two goals for the Lightning (26-13-4), who tied the second-longest winning streak in their history. Steven Stamkos, Cedric Paquette and Pat Maroon each had two assists in Tampa Bay's first shutout of the season.

"[The shutout] means a lot for our team and [Vasilevskiy]," Kucherov said. "He's been unbelievable. Regardless of what people are going to say about his game, I think he's the best player in the League, and he proved it tonight. He's been proving it all season."


[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Lightning highlights]


The last shutout for Vasilevskiy or the Lightning came against the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 16.

"It's been a while," Vasilevskiy said. "I thought we played very well, all 60 minutes. We had some games in the past when I could've had shutouts, but we gave up a late goal. Tonight I thought we played perfectly and the whole team deserves this."

Video: ARI@TBL: Kucherov wires home wrister form the circle

Adin Hill made 30 saves for the Coyotes (25-17-4), who lost for the first time in five games.

"We put ourselves in a hole and we had too many guys with their B-game," Coyotes forward Derek Stepan said. "This is one of the best teams in the League. If you're not sharp and executing, they are going to make your night really difficult."

Alex Killorn made it 1-0 at 15:06 of the first period when he jammed in a loose puck off the rebound of Maroon's shot.

Mikhail Sergachev extended the lead to 2-0 at 18:24 when his centering pass deflected in off Coyotes defenseman Jordan Oesterle.

"I honestly didn't think we were bad, I think we were fine, until that three minutes, two crucial plays," Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said after his team lost by at least four goals for the first time this season. "We lose our coverage in front, it's not a good goal. Then we had three guys caught, they had a 4-on-2, it's a bad goal. So, it's 2-0. 

"Then we started kind of unraveling. We had some guys, I didn't like their energy level. I don't know why."

Kucherov made it 3-0 at 6:15 of the second period, then made it 4-0 at 8:52 on a one-timer from a sharp angle off a pass from Stamkos, who gathered a rebound in front. 

Video: ARI@TBL: Stamkos sets up Kucherov for 400th assist

It was Stamkos' 400th NHL assist. 

"We're at our best when we're skating and utilizing the skill after that," Stamkos said. "Second period we did that, we were able to get some good looks and capitalize."

Vasilevskiy stopped Coyotes forward Taylor Hall on a breakaway with his right pad at 8:38 of the first period. 

"I knew that he has very good skill," Vasilevskiy said. "I tried to keep my gap for as long as possible. He made a great move, and I had to make an acrobatic save. My flexibility helps me a little bit."

Maroon left the game at 10:47 of the second period after taking an elbow to the face from Coyotes forward Carl Soderberg. Tampa Bay forward Ondrej Palat left the game at 12:44 of the third period after a check from Hall, who was given a two-minute roughing penalty against Lightning forward Tyler Johnson and a two-minute interference penalty against Palat. 

"I've been through knee stuff myself and [it was] not a great feeling when that happened," Hall, who had left knee surgery in November 2016 and February 2019, said of Palat. "I hope he's all right. In my view, I was really just standing my ground in a battle. I watched it on the bench. I'm more bracing myself for contact than trying to interfere with him or get a piece of a knee."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he didn't believe either injury was serious.

Video: Vasilevskiy earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout


They said it

"Two crucial mistakes and then you're chasing the game. When you're chasing the game, you make more mistakes." -- Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet

"Prior to this streak we were playing pretty darn good and [the score] wasn't always going our way, but I think the guys are kind of feeling it right now. When you get on these rolls, everyone is feeling good about themselves." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper


Need to know

The Lightning won 10 straight games from Feb. 18-March 5. … Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 42-17 during its winning streak. … Kucherov has nine points (four goals, five assists) during a six-game point streak. … Killorn has five goals in the past six games and is one shy of his NHL career high (19). … Coyotes forward Phil Kessel was minus-2 with one shot in 18:20. His four-game point streak ended.


What's next

Coyotes: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-CR, FS-A PLUS, NHL.TV)

Lightning: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSP+, SUN, NHL.TV)

Video: Vasilevksiy, Lightning shut out Coyotes in 4-0 win

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