The Lightning continued their march through the central division by recording their second straight shoutout, a 2-0 win over the Dallas Stars Tuesday night in Dallas.
This was also the third straight shutout for Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy which sets a new career-high.
Vasilevskiy is the hottest goalie in the NHL right now, has not allowed a goal in ten periods which spans 200 plus minutes.
On Thursday, Vasilevskiy can break the franchise shutout record set by John Grahame. Grahame set that record in January 2006 with 202:46 of shutout hockey.
Jon Cooper talked about Vasilevskiy and the streak that he is on. “You talk about somebody that’s in a groove. He is most certainly in one. Being around him for quite some time now, you see that confidence that builds in him. Just to watch his growth, it’s been just awesome to see. We’ve got to take advantage when he’s in a groove like this, and we are.”
After losing three out of four in mid-February to the Panthers and the Hurricanes, the Lightning is riding a season-high five-game winning streak as they head to Chicago to open a three-game series with the Blackhawks.
The Lightning currently sits atop the central division with 31 points, tied with the Carolina Hurricanes with a 15-4-1 record.
Lightning forward, Blake Coleman talked about how well Vasilevskiy is playing. “He’s the best goalie in the league right now. There’s a ton of confidence in front of him. We know he’s gonna give us a chance to win every night, and there’s certainly been some games even during this win streak that we haven’t been our best.
Dallas Stars coach Rick Bowness could only watch in amazement as Vasilevskiy stone-walled the Stars time after time. “Listen, if there is any other goalie in the league other than Vasilevskiy in there tonight, we score some goals. He was great, and that’s why he is the best goalie in the league.”
Coleman thinks that the Lightning can play better as a team in front of Vasilevskiy. “I think we could still do a much better job playing in front of him. Even though we’re not getting scored on a lot, a lot of that is on him. We can still limit some of the odd-man rushes, things like that. So if we clean that up, it’s gonna look even better, if that’s possible.”
One other aspect of the Lightning game that gets magnified when it’s not going well, but is not talked about when it’s clicking, is the penalty kill.
The Lightning killed off all nine Dallas Stars power-play opportunities in the two-game series, and have killed off 17 consecutive opposing power plays.
The Lightning leads the league in the penalty kill at 88.6 percent.