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Game 49: Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Leafs 1-0

The Tampa Bay Lightning got exactly enough offense (one goal, from Steven Stamkos) and a spectacular effort from goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to close out the first "half" of the season with a 1-0 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy makes one of 30 saves in shutting out Toronto 1-0 Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Andrei Vasilevskiy makes one of 30 saves in shutting out Toronto 1-0 Wednesday night.
Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0 in Tampa Wednesday night.

In this last game before the All Star break, the NHL's "halfway" point of the season (even though only 33 of 82 games remain), the margin of victory was the same as the total offensive output: one goal. Both teams benefited from outstanding goaltending with Jonathan Bernier in net for Toronto and Andrei Vasilevskiy on the other end for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy was just a little more outstanding-er.

Steven Stamkos got the only goal of the night with the classic Stamkos one-timer from the left circle on a power play at 4:38. He was assisted on the play by Anton Stralman and Valtteri Filppula.

"It's a big win. I don't think we played very well, but we came to the rink with a goal in mind to get the two points and enter this break on a positive note and we accomplished that." - Stamkos

Early on, it looked like the Lightning were going to dominate the game, as they held the Maple Leafs without a single shot for the first seven and a half minutes, during which the Lightning rang up 13.

However, by the time the game ended, Toronto erased that gap and actually ended up outshooting Tampa Bay 30 to 29.

"I think we stopped attacking. We didn't put pucks to the net. We were trying to find the perfect play and just really killed our offensive game. We started to turn pucks over. We were so successful in the first period, getting shots to the net and bodies to the front, we could have been up by three or four in the first 15 minutes. Then we stopped for some reason and it almost hurt us." - Stralman

"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with the sloppiness, just uncharacteristic of the way we've played during this stretch for the most part. There's no excuse for that. We have to be a team that plays consistently and that's what we are built to do... I'll keep reiterating the fact that Vasi played great and gave us the chance to winb because really, that was the reason why." - Stamkos

"I have some skills too, but some moments are just luck." - Vasilevskiy

The Lightning will return to action next Wednesday when they host the Detroit Red Wings, with whom they are tied (in points) for second place in the division.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning head into the break with a record of 27-18-4, with 56 points and in second place in the Atlantic Division, trailing the Florida Panthers by five points.
  • This was the second of five match-ups between the Atlantic Division foes. Previously, the Lightning rallied from down 3-1 to win 5-4 in overtime at Toronto on December 15. They'll meet again in Toronto on February 29.
  • Vasilevskiy's parents were on hand, watching their son play in the NHL for the first time in person.
  • The Lightning are 5-3 in the openers of multi-game homestands this season.
  • Stamkos is now three goals shy of the 300 mark.
  • This was the Lightning's sixth straight win at home.
  • The Lightning improved their record when scoring less than three goals to 8-16-1.
  • Stamkos and goaltender Ben Bishop will represent the Lightning at the All Star Game in Nashville this weekend. Here's hoping they do well and have a good time in Music City.
  • The Lightning honored Christopher Rogers as the 25th Lightning Community Hero of the 2015-16 season during the first period of tonight's game. Rogers, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Crisis Center. Seven years ago, Rogers served as a volunteer at the Crisis Center where he refreshed the non-profit's IT infrastructure. As the Global Vice President of Information Technology for Sykes Enterprises, he provided hundreds of pro-bono hours in order to bring a reliable and an up-to-date infrastructure. His diligence has made it possible for the organization to answer calls from people in crisis and to efficiently run a medical transportation service in the process. Last year, Rogers' expertise and dedication helped the organization respond to over 165,000 calls to those in desperate need and facing a crisis. Overall, Rogers' legacy is to help front line service providers bring help, hope and healing to those who are hurting. Tonight's Community Hero's dedication proudly represents a non-profit that will continue to give assistance to those who ask for it. Rogers becomes the 204th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $10.35 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area.