Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman and Ross Colton scored early first-period goals, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made them stand up with 35 saves as the Lightning edged the host Vancouver Canucks 2-1 on Sunday night.
Hedman and Colton both found the net in just over five minutes of play in the teams’ second meeting — the first a 4-2 Lightning home win on Jan. 13.
After losing three of four starts dating back to March 3, Vasilevskiy improved to 31-11-4 by allowing only J.T. Miller’s goal in the third period.
The win was the Lightning’s sixth in the past seven games against Vancouver and fourth straight overall. They improved to 7-1-0 in the second half of back-to-back matches.
Tampa Bay is 10-3-1 against the Pacific Division and 17-6-3 versus the Western Conference.
Miller extended his point streak to 12 games with the marker for Vancouver, which is 1-1-1 on its second seven-game homestand and has dropped two straight contests (0-1-1).
Thatcher Demko recorded 29 saves, and Conor Garland and Tanner Pearson dished out assists.
After a tough 4-1 loss in Edmonton Saturday night, the Lightning struck fast against Demko and the Canucks, getting on the board twice in the game’s first 5:06.
Hedman opened the scoring by finishing off a drop-pass by Pat Maroon, who skated behind Demko and slid the puck back to the defenseman. Hedman’s marker was his 15th, and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare also had an assist.
Corey Perry’s forecheck and steal led to Colton’s one-timer — his 11th tally — as the Lightning recorded 13 of the match’s first 14 shots on goal.
In the final minute of the frame, Steven Stamkos netted a goal, but Vancouver challenged that the Lightning captain was offside. The review proved he was, and the goal was overturned.
Pushing for a wild-card berth, Vancouver stepped up its game in the second period and peppered Vasilevskiy with 14 shots but could not beat the netminder.
In a strange play in the third period, Miller scored while alone in front of Vasilevskiy when the Lightning thought the play should have been halted due to icing.
With 1:10 remaining in regulation, Vancouver pulled Demko for the extra skater but failed to produce a good scoring chance as the Lightning held on for the victory, which snapped their three-game losing streak.
–Field Level Media