Without injured captain Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay got 36 saves from Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the host Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
In posting his fourth shutout this year and 25th of his career, Vasilevskiy lifted his record to 25-6-1 — breaking a tie with Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer for the NHL lead in goalie wins.
Yanni Gourde scored an empty-net goal and had an assist, and Ross Colton and Erik Cernak added markers for Tampa Bay, which moved to 6-1-0 against Nashville this season.
Hurt with an undisclosed injury against Columbus in a non-contact incident, Stamkos — the Lightning’s top scorer with 17 tallies — will also miss Tuesday’s season-series finale against the Predators.
Salary cap issues from a trade Saturday forced Tampa Bay to ice a lineup that featured 11 forwards and six defensemen in the third of its four-game road trip.
In net for the first time since March 28, goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 31 shots as Nashville was blanked for the fourth time this season and had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Despite the short bench, the Lightning went ahead in the first period when Gourde — who had a career-high four assists Thursday in Columbus — gathered a stretch pass from Mikhail Sergachev, raced in from the right and spun clockwise to send the puck to Colton.
Trailing on the play, the rookie deftly slid the puck past Rinne at 6:45 for his seventh goal in his 15th career NHL game for the early advantage.
Yet the fast Predators dominated the majority of the frame’s play and used traffic out front, peppering Vasilevskiy with 18 shots to just five by the Lightning.
However, the Russian goalie made a spectacular glove save on Rocco Grimaldi’s redirected shot in the last minute to maintain the lead.
In the lineup after a 20-game absence, Ryan Ellis scored four minutes into the second, but he pulled the puck completely behind the blue line before the shot. The Lightning challenged and the goal was overturned.
On a fortunate bounce at 14:04, Cernak made it 2-0 after his shot got help off two Nashville players — clicking Mikael Granlund’s stick and hitting Ellis’ leg — before flying past Rinne for his second marker.
Dominant again in the final 20 minutes, Vasilevskiy denied 10 shots by the Predators to win for the sixth straight time against them, including a 5-0-0 mark in 2021.
–Field Level Media