Vasilevskiy and the Lightning take Carolina to school.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 25 shots he faced for the shutout victory. There were long stretches of this game he didn’t have a ton of work, but he was part of the reason for that because I thought he was very efficient moving the puck in this game. And when Carolina did mount their push, he committed multiple counts of Vasilarceny to make sure the ‘Canes never got close enough to really smell the Lightning’s aftershave.
6:43 TB Colton (1), (Hedman, Killorn)
17:27 TB Coleman (4), (Gourde, Maroon)(PP)
19:25 TB Goodrow (4), (Killorn)(EN)
Blake Coleman, Ross Colton, and Vasilevskiy were the game’s three stars.
This was a close game, but only because Carolina got goaltending that was almost the equal of Tampa Bay’s. The Lightning really, it seems to me, did some video work and were very well prepared for Carolina in this game. They moved the puck efficiently past Carolina’s pressure points and they systematically abused the soft spots in Carolina’s coverage in the offensive zone. Rather than just unthinkingly moving the puck back to the wide points, the team figured out that the high slot was open all night like 7-11 and they must’ve had a half a dozen good chances from there. Carolina seemed the better prepared team in the opener of this four game set, but the Lightning coaching staff threw down the gauntlet today, in my opinion. Your move, Carolina.
Cal Foote had 2 penalty minutes, 1 shot, 2 hits, and 1 blocked shot in 12:03. Carolina’s not a great matchup for Cal given his skating deficiencies, but he was pretty good overall. I thought his First Period play was particularly good supporting the Lightning in the offensive zone. He struggled a bit more as the game dragged on, but overall I think I saw some improvement coming back up off the taxi squad.
Ross Colton had his first NHL goal and was +1 with 1 shot in 7:52. He was also 43% on seven draws. I thought his skating held up reasonably well at the top level. Maybe a dash better than Barre-Boulet’s, to be frank. He was reasonably good in his defensive coverage and board battles. I’d be comfortable with him getting more cracks at filling the Mitchell Stephens role. It’s a small sample size to judge his faceoffs, especially considering I think he got thrown out of the circles two or three times in this game, but I think both he and Barre-Boulet did nothing to hurt themselves as prospects with solid play in these two games.