SEATTLE (AP) — Timely goals from two unexpected sources and another strong performance by Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy finally cooled off the hottest team in the NHL.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored in the first period, Nicholas Paul had a goal in the third and the Lightning beat Seattle 4-1 on Monday, snapping the Kraken’s eight-game winning streak.
Brandon Hagel and Victor Hedman each added an empty-netter as Tampa Bay extended its win streak to four games and handed Seattle its first loss of the calendar year.
“I’d say a pretty complete game. Didn’t feel like we were in trouble all night,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “They’re a very good hockey team and they got some chances. They pushed, that’s to be expected. But we weathered it.”
Bellemare redirected Ian Cole’s shot from the point late in the first period for his second goal of the season and just his third point in the past month. Early in the third period, Paul took advantage of a turnover by Vince Dunn behind Seattle’s net and whipped a wrist shot over the shoulder of goaltender Philipp Grubauer.
Paul had only three goals in the previous 15 games. Hagel’s 17th of the season and Hedman’s second came in the final two minutes after Seattle pulled Grubauer.
“(Paul’s) second goal was a big one for us. It was a tight-checking game. Special teams weren’t a factor. It was just two good teams going at it,” Cooper said.
Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos remained stuck on 499 career goals, trying to become the third active player to reach 500.
Vasilevskiy appeared in line for his first shutout in more than a year until Dunn’s shot from the point sneaked through to make it 2-1 with 9:16 remaining. Dunn’s goal was his eighth of the season and gave him a point in his seventh straight game, a career high.
Vasilevskiy finished with 22 saves and won his fourth consecutive start. He’s allowed three goals or fewer in 16 of his past 17 starts, but is still without a regular-season shutout since Nov. 26, 2021, against Seattle.
“They were scoring what, five goals a game, something ridiculous? We knew it was going to be a big effort from us defensively,” Vasilevskiy said. “Unfortunately, their one goal went off my pants and went in. They can bring it, but today I thought we did a really good job.”
Seattle played its first home game in more than two weeks, coming off a franchise-altering road trip that vaulted the Kraken into the Pacific Division race. Seattle was the first team in league history to sweep a seven-game trip and it was largely done with offense. The Kraken scored a staggering 37 goals in the seven games, and their 3-0 win in Boston was the only time Seattle scored fewer than four goals on the trip.
But that kind of offense was far more difficult to come by against Vasilevskiy and the disciplined Lightning. Seattle managed just 23 shots on goal.
“They’ve got good players and they play within good structure and there’s not much time and space,” Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said. “They got those big bodies that take away time and space very well.”
Grubauer made 27 saves.