Lightning journal: Andrei Vasilevskiy makes latest acrobatic save

Also, Mathieu Joseph could return soon after missing time with a lower-body injury.
Andrei Vasilevskiy gets set to make a save against the Flyers by kicking the puck out of the air with his right foot. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Andrei Vasilevskiy gets set to make a save against the Flyers by kicking the puck out of the air with his right foot. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published December 27 2018
Updated December 27 2018

TAMPA – G Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to add to his unbelievable-saves  resume.

He made the latest in a string of acrobatic saves this season in the first period of the Lightning's 6-5 overtime win against the Flyers on Thursday.

Tyler Johnson went to the box for hooking, giving the Flyers a power play with 11:40 left in the opening frame. Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds put a puck on net that fluttered into the air. It looked as if it would drift into the Tampa Bay net.

Then Vasilevskiy kicked it with his right foot out of the air before it could trickle across the goal line.

The Lightning went on to prevent the Flyers from scoring on the power play.

Mathieu Joseph could return soon

Don't be surprised to see rookie F Mathieu Joseph back in the lineup soon.

Joseph was a full participant in the morning skate at Amalie Arena. Coach Jon Cooper ruled him out for the Flyers game immediately after the skate but said he is getting closer to returning.

Joseph has missed the past five games with a lower-body injury.

"I think after (Thursday) we can start to look at him as day-to-day," Cooper said.

This injury has been the only thing to slow Joseph this season. He has tallied nine goals and four assists in 32 games. His speed and burst have proven to be an asset during his rookie season.

Former coach praises Danick Martel

Perhaps no one knows F Danick Martel better than Flyers interim coach Scott Gordon.

Before his current role, Gordon had coached AHL Lehigh Valley since 2015. Martel played for him from 2015-16 to when the Lightning claimed him off waivers right before the start of this season.

During that span, Martel tallied 120 points over 199 career games with Lehigh Valley.

"He's a high-energy guy," Gordon said. "Has a real passion for the game. He finds a way to get his shots. He finds his way to get in on the forecheck. He finds a way to (tick) people off. For a guy his size (listed at 5 feet 8), he doesn't play that way.

"He was a guy that, for me, every year he got better. He kept working at it. It's great to see him get an opportunity."

Gordon said it was tougher for the Flyers to find a spot for Martel because of the makeup of forwards on their team. However, he said they hated to lose Martel.

Martel has played in four games for the Lightning this season as a forward on a team rich with offensive talent. He was a healthy scratch Thursday. He tallied his first NHL point against the Canucks on Dec. 18. He played in four games for Philadelphia last season.

Martel credits Gordon for helping him improve his overall game. In his first season with the Phantoms, Martel finished with 37 points but was minus-11. The next season, he improved that statistic to a plus-15 while tallying 40 points.

"(Gordon) is trying to bring out everyone's best every night," Martel said. "I think he's good at it."

Flyers team visits Tampa with leadership changes

This wasn't the same Flyers team the Lightning faced Nov. 17. At least not in terms of leadership.

A new coach stood behind the bench. A new general manager was running the team.

Former Wild GM Chuck Fletcher replaced Ron Hextall on Dec. 3 as Philadelphia's new general manager. He fired coach Dave Hakstol, then replaced him with interim coach Scott Gordon on Dec. 17. Gordon spent the previous three years as coach of AHL Lehigh Valley.

Contact Nick Kelly at nkelly@tampabay.com. Follow @_NickKelly.

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