Vasilevskiy stops 32 shots, Lightning beat Canadiens 4-0

TAMPA, Fla. – Andrei Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Victor Hedman scored twice and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 Thursday night.

Vasilevskiy completed his 21st career shutout to help Tampa Bay win for the second time in five games. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist, and Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning.

“I didn’t play well the past few games, so it feels pretty good to get the shutout,” said Vasilevskiy, who improved to 11-1-2 against the Canadiens. “But we played well defensively and we did a great job.”

Carey Price finished with 19 saves for Montreal, which was shut out for the first time this season.

The Canadiens played without their two leading goal scorers, Tomas Tatar (injury) and Brendan Gallagher (flu).

“We worked hard, we had chances, we had everything but we didn’t have a family … we couldn’t score,” Montreal coach Claude Julien said. “I think the 4-0 kind of score doesn’t tell the tale of the game except that they were a way more talented team tonight than we had as far as a lineup was concerned.”

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Hedman opened the scoring with his 10th of the season 49 seconds into the game with a slap shot from the centre point. Hedman reached the 10-goal mark for the seventh consecutive season, joining Nashville’s Roman Josi and San Jose’s Brent Burns as the only active defencemen with 10-or-more goals seven straight seasons.

Vasilevskiy stopped Joel Armia’s power-play breakaway at 5:22 to keep Tampa Bay in front.

Killorn got his 25th goal at 12:40, finishing a 2-on-1 chance started by Anthony Cirelli, who swiped the puck away from a pinching Jeff Petry to spring the odd-man rush.

“We were a little sloppy early, especially in the first period,” Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber said, adding “you can’t give them 2-on-1s and easy goals like that.”

Kucherov made it 3-0 with 1:05 left in the third, cutting down the slot to direct in a pass from Pat Maroon from along the left boards.

“Kuch made a heck of a play and I was just trying to throw it to an area where he can do his thing,” Maroon said. “It was a great deflection and a great finish. He’s an elite player and when he’s around the net he’s going to score goals.”

Hedman added his second goal on the power play with 1:03 left.

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NOTES: Tatar flew back to Montreal for further testing on an undisclosed upper-body injury that occurred Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Gallagher missed the morning skate with flu-like symptoms and then was scratched. … Montreal C Lukas Vejdemo was recalled from Laval of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis. … Lightning D Ryan McDonagh, out since Feb. 6 with a foot injury, could return by the weekend, according to coach Jon Cooper. … Tampa Bay D Kevin Shattenkirk recorded his 300th career assist.


Canadiens: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

Lightning: At the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

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