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game recap

Vasilevskiy, Kucherov help Lightning defeat Canucks

Goalie makes 31 saves, forward scores 300th NHL point for Tampa Bay

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves, Cory Conacher scored on a penalty shot with 3:24 left in the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

Vasilevskiy made 15 of his 31 saves in the third period for the Lightning, who have won five of their past six games (5-1-0) after going 2-4-1 in the previous seven.

"He's the biggest competitor on this team," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "He competes really hard in practice and in games. We owe it to him to play better over 60 minutes. He's undoubtedly been our most complete player the whole year."

 

[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Canucks highlights]

 

Chris Kunitz, Hedman and Yanni Gourde scored to give the Lightning (36-13-3) a 3-0 lead. But Thomas Vanek scored a wraparound goal at 10:00 of the third period, and Brock Boeser scored on a solo rush 4:30 later to make it 3-2 before Conacher converted the penalty shot after being cut by a high stick on a breakaway.

"I like the result but how we got there was probably not how we drew it up," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "You got a 3-0 lead going into the third period, and if Conacher doesn't draw that penalty shot -- and fortunately he scored -- who knows what would have happened because it wasn't looking too good for a while."

Nikita Kucherov had two assists for Tampa Bay to give him 300 career NHL points. He leads the NHL scoring race with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists), three ahead of Phil Kessel of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Vancouver took 33 shots, the eighth straight game Tampa Bay has given up 30 or more.

"We built a lead and that was enough, but in the end, giving up the scoring chances we gave up, and the shots, it's become a little bit of a trend," Cooper said. "We have to figure that out."

Video: TBL@VAN: Kucherov gets 300th point on Hedman's tally

Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves for the Canucks (21-25-6), who were trying to win three in a row at home for the first time this season. Vancouver is 3-2-0 in its past five games.

"I'm not here to give scares, I'm here to win hockey games," Markstrom said of the third-period push. "We got to play full 60-minute games. We created chances, but they have one of the best goalies in the world over there and he outplayed me tonight. It's frustrating."

Kunitz scored on Tampa Bay's first shot 1:26 into the first period, deflecting Anton Stralman's point shot up and over Markstrom's blocker to make it 1-0.

Hedman scored at 5:52 to make it 2-0, beating Markstrom between the legs from inside the top of the left face-off circle after a giveaway in the Vancouver end. But Hedman was more concerned about the third period, which started with the Lightning killing off an early 5-on-3 power play for 1:50 and finished with Vancouver taking 17 shots.

"We knew they were going to push and we just didn't answer back," Hedman said. "We played too much in our own end and things started to tilt. They got too many Grade-As in the third."

Gourde scored on a pretty give-and-go off the rush at 15:47 of the second period to make it 3-0. Gourde left the puck for Mikhail Sergachev and then one-timed the return pass over the glove of a sprawling Markstrom from the right face-off dot for his 18th goal of the season.

"We didn't play the right way," Gourde said. "You can't let teams back in the game when you're leading."

Video: TBL@VAN: Boeser snipes Vasilevskiy for his 25th goal

 
Goal of the game

Conacher's penalty shot at 16:36 of the third period.

Video: TBL@VAN: Conacher shows quick release on penalty shot

 
Save of the game

Vasilevskiy stopping Bo Horvat on a breakaway at 7:18 of the third period.

Video: TBL@VAN: Vasilevskiy extends for terrific pad save

 

Highlight of the game

Gourde's goal at 15:47 of the second period.

Video: TBL@VAN: Gourde, Sergachev connect to pad Bolts' lead

 
They said it

"If we give them those chances and don't work hard the whole ice it turns into a pretty big cluster out there. We have to make sure we play that committed team game for 60 minutes. We have to play a pace and style other teams can't keep up to." -- Lightning forward Chris Kunitz

 

"They play fast, really fast. It's not so much their skating, it's the way they move the puck. You can tell why they're top in the League." -- Canucks captain Henrik Sedin

 

Need to know 

Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury and isn't expected to play when Tampa Bay wraps up an eight-game road trip against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. … Sedin played his 1,300th NHL game, joining Nicklas Lidstrom (1,564) and Mats Sundin (1,346) as the only Swedish players to reach the milestone. … Canucks center Sam Gagner missed the game with an upper-body injury sustained against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

 
What's next

Lightning: At the Edmonton Oilers on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SNW, SUN, NHL.TV)

Canucks: At the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, SNP, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Vasilevskiy, Kucherov lead Lightning to 4-2 road win

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