Vasilevskiy shines again, Lightning blank Islanders 1-0

Jun 25, 2021, 8:12 AM | Updated: 9:45 pm

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Andrei Vasilevskiy had 18 saves and Yanni Gourde scored a short-handed goal to help the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the New York Islanders 1-0 in Game 7 of their NHL playoff semifinal series on Friday night.

The defending champions advanced to a Stanley Cup Final matchup against the surprising Montreal Canadiens, who upset the Vegas Golden Knights in the other semifinal. Game 1 is Monday night in Tampa.

Gourde beat Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov off a pass from Anthony Cirelli at 1:49 of the second period. Vasilevskiy turned away seven shots in the final period to post his fifth career playoff shutout — fourth this postseason. It marked the first time in NHL history a Game 7 ended 1-0 with a short-handed goal.

Vasilevskiy, vying for his second Vezina Trophy in three years, also beat the Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 and shut out Florida and Carolina to clinch series wins over Panthers and Hurricanes in the first two rounds.

The Lightning improved to 14-0 in games following a playoff loss since beginning last year’s championship run. They also bounced back from losses to beat the Islanders in Games 2 and 5 and haven’t suffered consecutive playoff losses since being swept by Columbus in the first round in 2019.

The Islanders, who were aiming for their first Stanley Cup Final berth in 37 years, forced a winner-take-all showdown by rallying to win Game 6 on Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal.

But with the Lightning playing relentless defense, while also outshooting New York 31-18, opportunities were limited Friday night.

Tampa Bay reached the Cup Final for the fourth time in franchise history despite not getting big nights offensively from playoff scoring leader Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, whose streak of consecutive games with at least one goal ended at nine — one shy of the NHL playoff record.

Kucherov played despite missing most of Game 6 with an injury. Point failed to score a goal for just the second time in the past 13 games.

I CAN GO

Kucherov left Game 6 after a taking a hit to the lower back from Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield. His status for Friday night was uncertain until just before faceoff. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak also returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games.

GAME 7s

The Islanders fell to 4-6 all-time in Game 7s, 4-5 on the road. It was first Game 7 the team has played in the semifinal round since facing Philadelphia in 1975. The Islanders were trying to earn their first Stanley Cup Final berth since 1984.

ON POINT

Point was trying to match Reggie Leach’s playoff record with goals in 10 consecutive games in the same postseason. Leach had a 10-game streak for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1976. With 14 goals in 18 games, Point has a chance to become the first player to lead the league in playoff goals in consecutive seasons since Jari Kurri in 1987 and 1988.

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, left, in action against Mallorca's goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic durin...
Associated Press

Vinícius Júnior again targeted by racist insults in Spain

MADRID (AP) — The hate attacks against Vinícius Júnior continued in Spain over the weekend, with the Brazil forward again being targeted by racist insults in a league match. The Spanish league said Monday it will investigate the latest attacks after television images showed someone calling him a monkey during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at […]
1 day ago
Italy's Federica Brignone speeds down the course during the super G portion of an alpine ski, women...
Associated Press

Brignone leads combined race at worlds; Shiffrin 0.96 behind

MERIBEL, France (AP) — Italian skier Federica Brignone posted the fastest time in the super-G portion of the women’s combined event Monday on the opening day of the world championships, leading defending champion Mikaela Shiffrin by almost a second. Racing under blue skies, Brignone found the fastest line on the Roc de Fer course as […]
1 day ago
FILE - Fans welcome Manchester City players before the start of the English Premier League soccer m...
Associated Press

Man City accused of breaching Premier League financial rules

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City was accused by the Premier League on Monday of breaching a slew of financial rules from 2009-18, during which the club became a force in English and European soccer following its takeover by Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. The league released a long statement detailing a list of alleged breaches of […]
1 day ago
Field hockey players of a local club attend a training session, in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, Nov. ...
Associated Press

Sports pitch for level playing field in cricket-mad Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — On Islamabad’s outskirts, burly men bind together in a scrum on a rugby pitch that has seen better days. The sign bearing the club’s name is worn. The floodlights are too costly to use, given high electricity prices and the paltry $135 total that the club earns in membership fees every month. […]
1 day ago
NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) poses for a photo with the championship trophy after...
Associated Press

Truex wins NASCAR’s sloppy return to Los Angeles Coliseum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Martin Truex Jr. won NASCAR’s return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for its season-opening exhibition race — a sloppy Sunday night extravaganza in which the Wiz Khalifa halftime show might have been the most entertaining part of the event. Truex took the lead with 25 laps to go in the […]
1 day ago
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against ...
Associated Press

Morant says friend banned from arena over Pacers dispute

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant tweeted Sunday that a friend of his has been banned from games at FedExForum for a year as a result of a confrontation between his supporters and members of the Indiana Pacers organization a week earlier. The NBA confirmed that unnamed individuals have been banned from […]
1 day ago
Vasilevskiy shines again, Lightning blank Islanders 1-0