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Bolts start fast, then depend on Andrei Vasilevskiy for the win

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The Tampa Bay Lightning got off to such a good start Saturday night, but it didn’t bother to finish.

That’s the latest bone of contention for Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team won a 3-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Power play goals by Brian Boyle and Jonathan Drouin, and a second-period goal by Alex Killorn put the Bolts ahead 3-0, but the team allowed Carolina to come back and threaten down the stretch.

“Give credit to Carolina,” Cooper said. “We got that third goal, and we took our foot off the pedal. We could have put it away. It’s a little discouraging.Vasy had to make a lot of saves.”

Of course, that was a good thing for the Bolts, too. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has been sharp lately as the Bolts have taken nine of their last possible 12 points.

“I think there was a point after (Ben Bishop) went down that he might have been feeling the weight of the world on him, that he had to carry the team,” Cooper said “That’s not true. We have to carry the team and he has to bail us out when he can. He was putting a lot of pressure on himself.

“That’s why he’s the goaltender he is. He’d put pressure on himself after a shutout.”

Vasilevskiy had 26 saves in 27 shots.

The Lightning play Winnipeg Tuesday night.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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