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game recap

Lightning cruise past Stars in first meeting since Stanley Cup Final

Vasilevskiy gets second straight shutout for Tampa Bay, which has won four in row

by Corey Long / Independent Correspondent

Vasilevskiy blanks Stars

Vasilevskiy earns a shutout in Cup Finals rematch

Andrei Vasilveskiy stopped all 20 shots that came his way, helping the Lightning to a 5-0 win over the Stars in a Stanley Cup Finals rematch

  • 00:50 •

TAMPA -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves for his second straight shutout, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 5-0 at Amalie Arena on Saturday in their first game since the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

"It feels like he's locked in all the time, to be honest with you," Lightning forward Steven Stamkos said. "That's how amazing he is. We just try to make it as easy for him as we can, but he's the best goalie in the world for a reason, and he's showing it."

Anthony Cirelli and Stamkos each had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay (14-4-1), which has won four straight.

Anton Khudobin allowed five goals on 17 shots and was pulled 1:07 into the third period for Dallas (6-6-4), which is 2-5-3 in its past 10 games. Jake Oettinger made five saves in relief.

"We'll turn it around," Stars coach Rick Bowness said. "We've had a bad 10-game segment. We've lost some games we should've won. We certainly didn't deserve to win tonight. When you lose games you played well enough to win, it's going to bite you."

The Lightning defeated the Stars in the Cup Final, with Vasilevskiy making 22 saves in a 2-0 clinching win in Game 6 on Sept. 28.

"It's certainly not the feeling that it was the last time we played them," Stamkos said. "It's a different year. As much as people want to make a storyline about it, it's a game, and once both teams get on the ice they want to win." 

Video: DAL@TBL: Palat roofs the puck for a power-play goal

Ondrej Palat made it 1-0 at 13:18 of the first period after Tampa Bay won a face-off. The goal came three seconds into a power play.

Cirelli, who missed six games with an upper-body injury, made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 4:06 of the second period off a lead pass from Stamkos. 

"After missing a couple of games I just wanted to get my feet moving," Cirelli said. "It was a great game by the guys tonight. We played a full 60. We had a game plan in place and I felt like we stuck with it all game."

Brayden Point pushed the lead to 3-0 at 8:17 with a shot that went around Dallas defenseman Andrej Sekera and beat Khudobin top shelf. Pat Maroon made it 4-0 at 15:12 when Tyler Johnson made a backdoor pass to the front of the net.

"I think overall we're just not in sync enough at times," Stars forward Andrew Cogliano said. "Our 5-on-5 play was really good tonight. We wanted to shore up a few things and we held them to not too many scoring chances 5-on-5. But our special teams were the problem tonight. It seems like every game it's just something different and we're not putting it together."

Stamkos scored at 1:07 of the third period with a one-timer from the left circle for the 5-0 final.

Video: DAL@TBL: Stamkos unloads a one timer from the circle

The Stars were 0-for-6 on the power play, and the Lightning were 2-for-2.

"The power play sucked the life right out of the team," Bowness said. "We had six power plays and we had eight forwards, all of our top guys, without a shot on net."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was pleased with the effort from the penalty kill and said the return of Cirelli provided a boost, but he would like them to spend less time in the box. 

"We can't take six penalties," Cooper said. "That was unfortunate, but to do what we did with the penalty kill was outstanding. Anytime you take six penalties and you come out of it 1-0 with a shorty, it's a good sign."

Video: DAL@TBL: Cirelli buries a shorthanded goal

This was the first of eight games between Dallas and Tampa Bay this season after four were postponed. They will play the second of this two-game set at Dallas on Tuesday. 

The games Jan. 17 and 19 in Tampa Bay were rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions from Stars training camp, and the severe weather in Dallas led to the Feb. 18 and 20 postponements.

"It's going to be like a playoff, we're going to see the same team a bunch of times," Stars defenseman John Klingberg said. "We've put ourselves in a worse position than we wanted, so we have to dig out of it."

NOTES: The Lightning are the fourth champion in 20 seasons to shut out their Cup Final opponent in their first game the next season (Colorado Avalanche 2-0 at New Jersey Devils in 2001-02, Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 (OT) vs. Lightning in 2015-16, Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 vs. Nashville Predators in 2017-18). … The teams that played in the previous Stanley Cup Final have not played each other more than twice in the following regular season since 1991-92, when the Minnesota North Stars played the Penguins three times. ... Vasilevskiy made 25 saves in a 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. He has a shutout streak of 140:45 dating to the second period of a 4-2 win at Carolina on Monday. It was his 23rd NHL shutout. … Johnson and Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev each had two assists. … Dallas forward Roope Hintz played 19:46 after missing two games with a lower-body injury. 

Video: Lightning win 5-0 in rematch of Stanley Cup Final

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