Vasilevskiy ends 84-game shutout drought, Lightning beat Avs
By MARK DIDTLER
TAMPA, Fla, (AP) Andrei Vasilevskiy made 30 saves to stop an 84-game regular-season shutout drought, Branon Hagel had two goals and an assist, and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-0 on Thursday night.
This was the first meeting between the teams since Colorado ended Tampa Bay's two-year run as NHL champs with a series win in last season's Stanley Cup Final.
Vasilevskiy made a nifty glove save on Matt Nieto's early second-period breakaway shot en route to his 29th career shutout and first since blanking Seattle on Nov. 26, 2021.
"Hopefully they come in bunches," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It was great. The crowd was great at the end, cheering for him. It's weird. Some years, you get a ton of them, and some years they get broken up late and it happened to him a couple times this year."
Vasilevskiy is 11-0-0 at home, dating to December and became the second NHL goalie to post multiple 11-game win streaks, joining Montreal Hall of Famer Ken Dryden.
Vasilevskiy said he was unaware of how long his shutout drought was.
"I know how many wins I have this season," he said. "That's the only thing that matters."
Corey Perry, Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev also scored for the Lightning, who had lost two in row.
Nikita Kucherov got his NHL-leading 56th assist on Point's goal to break his own record (2018-19) with a point in his 17th consecutive home game. Alex Killorn had three assists.
Tampa Bay set a team record with a point in 14 straight home games.
Alexandar Georgiev stopped 27 shots as Colorado fell to 7-2-1 in its last 10 games. The Avalanche were coming off a 2-1 overtime loss Tuesday night at Pittsburgh.
"Not finishing," Colorado right wing Mikko Rantanen said. "I think in the first we were playing pretty good. We were creating enough chances to score. Some really good looks in the first. We could have easily got the first goal, but we didn't. We've got to find a way to score more frequently and better percentage."
Hagel and Point, on the power play, scored 1:57 apart midway through the second to make it 3-0.
After Vasilevskiy made a strong save on Rantanen, Anthony Cirelli got his second assist setting up Hagel at 8:32.
Point was credited with his 32nd goal when Colorado's Valeri Nichushkin put a clearing attempt into his own net with 9:31 left in the period.
Hagel put the Lightning up 4-0 with 1:53 remaining in the second.
Perry opened the scoring during a power play at 15:15 of the first. It gave the right wing his 15th season of 10 or more goals, and moved him within one goal of tying Tony Amonte (416) for 93rd place on the career list.
Sergachev had a third-period goal.
Avalanche D Cale Makar didn't play due to a head injury and will miss at least one additional game. He was hurt on a check by Pittsburgh's Jeff Carter on Tuesday.
Avalanche: C Andrew Cogliano couldn't put any weight on his right leg after a collision with Tampa Bay D Ian Cole two minutes into the game, but returned three minutes later. ... C Evan Rodrigues left in the third after being hit in the face by Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman's clearing attempt.
Lightning: LW Nick Paul, who was hurt Tuesday, was scratched.
NASCAR driver Aric Almirola was at the game and traded a helmet with Cole for a Lightning jersey as part of a Daytona 500 promotion. Almirola, a Lightning fan, signed the helmet to Cole's children.
Avalanche: Play at Florida on Saturday night.
Lightning: Start a four-game trip Saturday against Dallas.
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Updated February 9, 2023