Kristers Gudlevskis takes another step
With Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy making for a Lightning log-jam in net, goalie Kristers Gudlevskis just has to wait.
But that hasn't stopped Gudlevskis, 24, from getting better. Coach Jon Cooper has seen some significant improvement since last season, as shown in Gudlevski's 21-save shutout in Thursday's 2-0 exhibition win over the Panthers.
"There's no question," Cooper said. "Every year, you just watch him improve and he's got more poise. He had to play the puck a lot (Thursday), which is not one of his strengths. But he's getting better at it. You see improvement in all areas. He earned that shutout tonight. It's great this organization has got depth in that position."
Gudlevskis and Adam Wilcox split the games at AHL Syracuse last season, and are expected to again this year. Gudlevskis, who went 16-12 with a 2.83 goals against average in 41 games, felt better late in the season.
"I feel like I've become a little bit more patient, more calm, and wait better for shots," Gudlevskis said. "Just stay focused."
Gudlevskis, who split Tuesday's game with Wilcox, said he's in shape and game ready. He thinks he and Wilcox are a "good pair," and push each other. Gudlevskis' time will come in Tampa Bay, especially if either Bishop or Vasilevskiy are hurt or traded during the season. So Gudlevskis' development is important.
"You don't think about that, just try to improve your game and work hard and it'll come," Gudlevskis said. "Just have to be patient."