Vasilevskiy, Lightning blank Canadiens, keep pace in Atlantic
Hedman scores twice, Tampa Bay gets second win in seven games; Montreal fails to gain in wild cardby Corey Long / NHL.com Independent Correspondent
TAMPA -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves for his third shutout of the season, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at Amalie Arena on Thursday.
"I haven't played well over the last few games," said Vasilevskiy, who had one win in his previous five starts after winning eight in a row. "So it's a pretty good feeling to get the shutout, but as I said, we played well defensively as a team. We did a very good job."
Victor Hedman scored twice, and Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (42-20-5), who were 1-5-0 in their previous six games. Tampa Bay remained nine points behind the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.
[WATCH: All Canadiens vs. Lightning highlights]
Carey Price made 19 saves for the Canadiens (31-29-9), who were without forward Brendan Gallagher because of flu-like symptoms. Montreal remained seven games behind the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
"We had chances, they were able to score on theirs and we weren't able to score on ours," Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry said. "[Vasilevskiy] has won a lot of games against a lot of different teams. He's a good goalie, and we weren't able to beat him tonight."
Video: MTL@TBL: Hedman nets two goals in 4-0 win
Montreal was shut out for the first time this season in its 69th game.
"We worked hard, we had chances, we had everything, but we didn't have a finish," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "We couldn't score. I think the 4-0 kind of score doesn't tell the tale of the game except that they were a way more talented team than we [were] as far as a lineup was concerned."
Hedman gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead at 49 seconds of the first period from the high slot, his first goal since Dec. 23. He went 31 games without one.
"[Hedman is] a world-class defenseman, I think he's the best in the League," Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev said. "He does everything well. 5-on-5, 4-on-5, 5-on-4, he's just a rock. It's great to have a player like that on the team."
Alex Killorn made it 2-0 at 12:40 when he finished a 2-on-1.
"We were a little sloppy early, especially in the first period," Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber said. "But we gave them … a high-powered offense … you can't give them 2-on-1s and easy goals like that."
Video: MTL@TBL: Killorn roofs wrister over Price fon 2-on-1
Kucherov extended the lead to 3-0 at 18:56 of the second period. Pat Maroon passed across the ice to him and Kucherov chipped the puck under Price's glove.
"It was an important goal," Maroon said. "I was just trying to throw it to him in an area where he can do his thing. Great deflection by him and great finish obviously. He's an elite player, and when he's around the net he's going to score goals."
Hedman made it 4-0 with 1:03 left in the third period.
Video: MTL@TBL: Kucherov chips Maroon's feed past Price
They said it
"[The] compete level and the work ethic and all that stuff. I have nothing to complain about from our team. They tried hard and we just didn't have enough." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien
"We asked them to be a little bit more responsible with the puck, [they] were tonight. The goalie was sharp. It's another win for us. We're not going to think too much about this one. We've got a tough three-game road trip ahead of us." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper
Video: Vasilevskiy earns Thursday's Pepsi Zero Sugar Shutout
Need to know
Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar was went sent back to Montreal for further evaluation of an upper-body injury. … Kucherov has 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 27 games against Montreal. … Vasilevskiy is 11-1-2 against the Canadiens. … Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk got his 300th NHL assist on Hedman's second goal. … Killorn has 48 points (25 goals, 23 assists), an NHL career high; he had 47 (15 goals, 32 assists) in 2017-18. ... Tampa Bay forward Brayden Point had an assist and tied Chris Gratton for 13th on the Lightning points list (259).
Canadiens: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, TVAS, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Lightning: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, NESN, SUN, NHL.TV)