Alright, before anything else is said, you need to see this save by Andrei Vasilevskiy. I don’t typically use this article to relay video highlights, but that is one of the best saves I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if it’s luck or skill or both. I do know that couldn’t have been any closer to being a goal. We see highlights of goaltenders stopping a puck at the brink and those are great in their own, but Vasilevskiy had already been beat on this shot and somehow managed to still salvage what at that point seemed like a sure goal.
It’s not like that’s all Vasilevskiy did last night either. Toronto outshot Tampa Bay 49-21, but the Lightning earned a 4-1 win in large part thanks to Vasilevskiy’s efforts. The Maple Leafs managed a staggering 23 shots in the second period alone, but not a single goal was recorded during that frame. To make it even more impressive, this was Vasilevskiy’s first game back from a fractured foot.
I can’t help but think back to last season when Vasilevskiy was one of the league’s top goaltenders for most of the campaign, but fell hard towards the end of the season. Vasilevskiy admitted that he was dealing with some fatigue, which was a new problem for him given that it was his first as a full-time NHL starter. While obviously it’s a bad thing that Vasilevskiy got hurt, being forced to take roughly a month off might lead to him being better rested when it matters most down the stretch and into the playoffs. If that’s the case then there’s a silver lining here and it will be one more big advantage for an already stacked Lightning squad.
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BUFFALO 3 ARIZONA 1
Christian Fischer netted the Coyotes’ only goal. It was his seventh goal and ninth point in 30 contests in 2018-19.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 30 of 33 Sabres shots. He’s allowed seven goals in two starts since returning from a lower-body injury.
Jeff Skinner found the back of the net at 6:54 of the first period and that ended up being the game-winner. He’s up to 22 goals and 32 points in 32 games.
Casey Mittelstadt needed just 48 seconds to get the game’s first goal. The Sabres forward has five markers and 10 points in 32 contests.
Carter Hutton turned aside 25 of 26 shots last night. He lost his previous two starts, but before that he was on an eight-game winning streak.
COLUMBUS 4 LOS ANGELES 1
Artemi Panarin scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner. That gives him nine goals and 34 points in 30 games.
Cam Atkinson assisted on both of those markers. He’s up to 19 goals and 34 points in 30 contests.
Dustin Brown netted the Kings’ goal. It was his ninth goal and 17th point in 23 games.
Jonathan Quick stopped 37 of 41 Blue Jackets shots. He’s surrendered at least three goals in three of his last four starts.
At the other end of the ice, Sergei Bobrovsky saved 29 of 30 shots. That ended his run of four consecutive games of three or more goals.
MONTREAL 6 CAROLINA 4
This was a night to forget for Petr Mrazek. He surrendered five goals on 39 shots. Most of the damage came in the third period when he was beaten three times on 10 shots.
Not that Carey Price really fared better with 27 saves on 31 shots. Still, Price has now won four consecutive starts to improve to 12-8-4.
Jeff Petry scored two goals with the Canadiens. He has seven goals and 24 points in 32 contests.
Andrew Shaw accounted for the game-winning goal. It was his ninth goal and 19th point in 28 games.
Andrei Svechnikov found the back of the net twice. The Hurricanes rookie has eight goals and 15 points in 30 games.
TAMPA BAY 4 TORONTO 1
Andrei Vasilevskiy saved 48 of 49 Maple Leafs shots. Toronto outshot Tampa Bay by a staggering 23-12 in the second period and yet Tampa Bay outscored Toronto 3-0 in that period. In the third frame, the Maple Leafs outshot Tampa Bay 16-2, but no goals were scored.
Toronto’s only goal was an unassisted marker by Kasperi Kapanen. That gives him 12 goals and 22 points in 32 contests.
Frederik Andersen stopped just 17 of 21 shots. For the most part, he’s been great this season, but he’s surrendered at least three goals in eight of his last 11 starts.
Nikita Kucherov scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He has 13 goals and 47 points in 33 games.
Anthony Cirelli also had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. That gives him nine goals and 13 points in 33 contests.
NASHVILLE 4 VANCOUVER 3 (OT)
The Canucks lost, but at least they got a point out of their late push. Down 3-1, Brock Boeser scored at 15:55 of the third period and Bo Horvat tied the game shorthanded at 19:16. That was Horvat’s 15th goal and 29th point in 34 games.
Colton Sissons scored the overtime winner though, in addition to registering an assist earlier. He has seven goals and 16 points in 32 games.
Nick Bonino also had a goal and an assist for Nashville. That gives him five goals and 13 points in 31 games.
Anders Nilsson stopped 30 of 34 Predators shots. You’d have to go back to Oct. 16 to find his last win.
Pekka Rinne saved 19 of 22 shots Thursday night. He’s won two straight games and four of his last five starts.
MINNESOTA 5 FLORIDA 1
Nino Niederreiter led the charge with two goals and an assist. He has seven goals and 18 points in 31 contests this season.
Ryan Suter assisted on three of the Wild’s five goals. That gives him four goals and 26 points in 31 games.
Devan Dubnyk saved 30 of 31 Predators shots. It’s the second straight game that he’s held the competition to just a goal.
Denis Malgin scored the Panthers’ goal. He’s up to two goals and six points in 18 contests.
James Reimer allowed five goals on 26 shots Thursday night. That brings him to 23 goals allowed in his last six games.
WINNIPEG 5 EDMONTON 4 (OT)
Mark Scheifele scored a goal at 9:58 of the third period to tie the game at 4-4 and registered two assists. The Jets forward has 18 goals and 40 points in 31 games.
Josh Morrissey netted the overtime winner and recorded an assist. That gives him four goals and 17 points in 29 contests.
Connor Hellebuyck allowed four goals on 26 shots for Winnipeg. That ended his run of three straight starts where he surrendered just a goal, but this was also his fifth win in the span of six starts.
Alex Chiasson scored a goal and registered an assist. The Oilers forward has 13 goals and 17 points in 26 games. He’s already tied his career-high in goals scored, which was set back in 2013-14.
Cam Talbot stopped 35 of 40 Jets shots. He allowed at least one goal in every period, including the second frame when the Jets managed only six shots on goal.
SAN JOSE 3 DALLAS 2
Joe Thornton was originally questionable for the contest due to an undisclosed injury. In the end, not only did he play, but he scored the game-winning goal. He’s up to five goals and 13 points in 24 contests.
Timo Meier netted the Sharks’ other two goals. That gives him 18 goals and 32 points in 30 games.
Martin Jones saved 20 of 22 Stars shots. He’s held the competition to two or fewer goals in four of his last five starts.
Miro Heiskanen netted a goal for Dallas. It was his seventh goal and 17th point in 32 games.
Anton Khudobin surrendered three goals on 24 shots last night. He’s 6-6-2 with a 2.73 GAA and .913 save percentage in 14 games.