Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 20 shots to continue his dominance of Dallas, backstopping the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-0 blanking of the visiting Stars on Wednesday night.
In moving to 5-0-1 against Dallas this season, Vasilevskiy recorded his fifth shutout overall and third against the Stars while earning his NHL-best 30th win.
After clinching its fourth consecutive playoff berth Tuesday in a 7-4 win at Chicago, Tampa Bay (34-14-2, 70 points) won its fourth straight to strengthen its position as it competes with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers for the Central Division crown.
Opening a seven-game road trip to close the season, Dallas (21-17-12, 54 points) remains two points behind fourth-place Nashville for the Central’s final playoff spot. The Stars have played one fewer game than the Predators, and those two teams meet Saturday in Nashville for the final time in the regular season.
Ondrej Palat notched his 15th goal, Blake Coleman tallied on his first career penalty shot for the Lightning and Brayden Point scored into an empty net.
Stars rookie Jake Oettinger stopped 25 of 27 shots, and Jason Robertson saw his team-record nine-game point streak by a rookie come to an end.
In the first period of the teams’ second meeting in Tampa, Oettinger stood tall until the Stars committed a turnover in their own end. Palat took advantage in the slot by slipping a wrister in on the blocker side for an unassisted goal at 14:41.
The marker extended the top-line left winger’s point streak to seven games, during which he has three goals and seven assists.
Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak found himself all alone and skated in on Vasilevskiy in Dallas’ best scoring chance but was denied by the Russian goalie with 2:03 left in the period.
Dallas drew the lone penalty in the second to go on its first power play, but the visitors — who were able to outshoot the Lightning 12-2 in the frame — failed to produce a single shot on Vasilevskiy and trailed by a goal heading into the third.
After being fouled on a short-handed breakaway attempt, Coleman ripped a shot over Oettinger’s glove for a 2-0 advantage at 8:27 of the final period.
Point’s empty-net goal with 1:21 remaining rounded out the scoring.
–Field Level Media