July 24th, 2024

Stamkos scores four, Vasilevskiy stops 53 as Lightning end Oilers’ win streak

By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press on December 14, 2023.

Tampa Bay Lightning' Nick Paul (20) is tripped up by Edmonton Oilers' Evan Bouchard (2) during first period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday December 14, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON – Usually a team that outshoots its opponent by 33 shots comes out on top, but that was not the case in Edmonton on Thursday.

Steven Stamkos scored four goals for the first time in his storied career and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 53 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to douse the red-hot Oilers with a 7-4 victory.

Tyler Motte, Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli also scored for the Lightning (14-12-5), who have won four of their last six outings.

Edmonton (13-13-1) led 57-24 on the shot clock, but Vasilevskiy made up for the wide margin and then some.

“Without him that’s not even a game, so I think we give all the credit to Vasy tonight,” Stamkos said. “Certainly not a recipe we want to have to rely on every night, but in a game like that when we don’t have our best and we’re playing a really good team that’s on a winning streak, to have him back there was obviously huge.”

Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev agreed that Vasilevskiy deserved a ton of the credit.

“It was another Hall of Fame performance by a Hall of Fame goalie,” he said. “I always tell him he’s a Hall of Famer and he’s only 28 years old and he’s playing unbelievable for us.”

Darnell Nurse, Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for the Oilers, who saw their winning streak halted at eight games, one shy of tying their franchise record.

“We created a lot more chances,” said Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl. “We played a really good game. Eight times out of 10, nine out of 10, we probably win that game.”

Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner let in a couple of admittedly weak goals in the third which might have changed the tide.

“If I was able to make that last save we might still be playing (overtime) right now,” he said. “The guys played a heck of a game. I don’t think anybody in this room should be upset, except for me, to be honest. I think I ended up kind of losing us the game and that’s something I’ll take on and will be better for it.”

Skinner had won his previous seven starts.

Tampa Bay got off to a quick start with a power-play goal just 67 seconds into the opening period as Stamkos wired a snapshot past Skinner.

It was Stamkos’ 200th career power-play marker, making him just the 20th player in NHL history to hit the benchmark.

The Lightning extended their lead seven minutes into the first period as Tyler Motte scored his first goal of the season.

The Oilers got on the board with a short-handed goal 1:23 into the second period as Nurse chipped a shot past Vasilevskiy.

Edmonton tied the game on the power play 7:20 into the middle frame as McDavid won a draw and then golfed the loose puck into the net for his 11th, extending his points streak to 11 games. Hyman then ticked an Evan Bouchard bullet in on the power play for his 17th.

Bouchard stretched his own point streak to 13 games, the second-longest by a defenceman in franchise history behind only current assistant coach Paul Coffey. Bouchard is only the fifth active blueliner to extend a point streak to 13 games.

The Lightning pulled back even with 13:12 to play in the third as Stamkos showed off his hands by batting a rebound out of mid-air and bouncing it past Skinner.

Tampa Bay regained the lead with seven minutes to play as Kucherov beat Skinner on a goal he would like to have back as it slipped through his legs. It was Kucherov’s 20th of the season.

Skinner looked bad on another goal just 1:15 later as he waved a glove at a Stamkos shot that went off the post and in for his third of the game.

Edmonton made it interesting with 2:22 left and Skinner pulled as Bouchard found Nugent-Hopkins at the side of the net, where he shovelled in his seventh.

Tampa Bay put the game away with a pair of empty netters, first from Cirelli and then with Stamkos’ fourth goal of the game and 14th of the campaign.

UP NEXT – Both teams return to action on Saturday. The Lightning close out a five-game road trip in Calgary against the Flames. The Oilers cap off a six-game homestand against the Florida Panthers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2023.

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