CHICAGO (AP) – Andrei Vasilevskiy made 40 saves in his NHL-best seventh shutout, Chris Kunitz scored a short-handed goal in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Monday night.
Yanni Gourde also scored as Tampa Bay stopped a season-high three-game slide and leapfrogged idle Vegas for the best record in the NHL. The Lightning, who lost to Chicago in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, improved to 11-0-2 against the Blackhawks in their last 13 regular-season meetings.
Chicago controlled most of the second period, but one little lapse proved costly. With Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev serving a double minor for high sticking and unsportsmanlike conduct, Jake Dotchin shot the puck wide of the net and Kunitz found it before anyone else, taking it off the backboard and banking it in off the right skate of goaltender Jeff Glass.
Kunitz’s sixth goal of the season was enough for Vasilevskiy, who got his 28th win of the season. Patrick Kane shot the puck off the right post during a power play in the first and Anthony Duclair was stopped by Vasilevskiy on a breakaway 6:41 into the third.
Gourde put the game away when he beat Glass with a slap shot low on the goaltender’s glove side with 1:34 left. It was Gourde’s 15th goal of the season.
Tampa Bay (32-12-3) improved to 1-1 on an eight-game trip overlapping the All-Star festivities at its home arena. It’s the longest road trip in the NHL this season.
Glass made 29 saves, but last-place Chicago (22-19-6) lost for the fourth time in five games. It was a much better performance than its previous two games, when Chicago was outscored 11-3 in losses to Detroit and the New York Islanders, but the Blackhawks are running out of time in the competitive Central Division.
NOTES: Blackhawks C Artem Anisimov was activated from injured reserve after missing 10 straight games with an upper-body injury. The 29-year-old Anisimov has 13 goals, including six game-winners, and five assists in 37 games this season. … Lightning C Alex Killorn played in his 400th NHL game.
Lightning: Visit the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.