Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay top Carolina 2-1 for 2-0 series lead

Carolina Hurricanes/NHL

Carolina Hurricanes’ Jaccob Slavin (74) checks Tampa Bay Lightning’s Alex Killorn (17) off the puck during the second period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday, June 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli scored while Andrei Vasilevskiy was strong in net once again, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday night for a 2-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.

Vasilevskiy finished with 31 saves after being named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy presented annually to the league’s top goaltender. That came two days after he made 37 stops in a 2-1 victory in Game 1, including 15 saves in the opening period.

Killorn got the Lightning on the board 7:09 into the second period when he whipped a straightaway shot past Alex Nedeljkovic. The goaltender was shielded by teammate Jaccob Slavin tussling with Cirelli and didn’t appear to see the puck until it was past him in the net.

Cirelli added to Tampa Bay’s lead by taking Victor Hedman’s stretch pass and shaking free from Brady Skjei before converting a backhand to make it 2-0 at 8:06 of the third.

The Lightning didn’t generate much offense otherwise. They finished with just 15 shots, compared to 32 for the Hurricanes.

Still, just as they did in the first round against Florida, the reigning Stanley Cup champions have opened a best-of-seven series with a pair of road wins — this time against the Central Division champions. They host Game 3 on Thursday.

Andrei Svechnikov got Carolina on the board with 1:30 left, taking a feed from Jordan Staal from behind the net and finishing from the top of the crease.

It was a rare time when the Hurricanes successfully managed to create pressure and traffic around Vasilevskiy. That included Martin Necas going wide of the net on a short-handed 2-on-1 breakaway in the second period, with that play ending with Vasilevskiy’s stick out of his hand and spinning on the ice as he flailed at the puck.

INJURY REPORT

The Hurricanes took a significant hit in this one when Vincent Trocheck was hurt late in the second period when the center and teammate Warren Foegele banged legs as they tried to skate by each other.

Trocheck put little to no weight on his right leg as he skated to the bench, slamming his stick along the way before heading to the locker room. He played one short shift in the third but didn’t return.

Tampa Bay was without defenseman David Savard for a second straight game due to an upper-body injury. But fellow blue-liner Erik Cernak was back in the lineup after exiting Game 1 late in the second period after a jarring collision with Svechnikov and Trocheck near the boards.

DOWN EARLY

Killorn’s goal marked the seventh time in eight playoff games, and sixth in a row, that the Hurricanes have surrendered the game’s first goal. The only exception was a shutout win against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the first-round series.

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