The split begins: Vasilevskiy starting tonight
Coach Jon Cooper said he wanted to give backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy more of a split in net this season.
And it starts tonight, with Vasilevskiy starting against the Devils. Starter Ben Bishop played in Game 1, a 6-4 win over the Red Wings. Cooper has said it'd be ideal to have Bishop play around 50 games, Vasilevskiy 30.
Bishop has set a standard of starting 60 games per season, like he has the past three, but didn't seem bothered by the change.
"Obviously you want to play every game, but that's why (Cooper) gets paid the big bucks," Bishop said, smiling. "There's nothing wrong with a night off, especially when you've got a capable guy coming in. It's definitely not going to hurt taking an extra night's rest. You want to play them all. But in the big picture, when they're playing 80-90 games every year, they start to add up over the years. Obviously you're not going to be (ticked) off or anything if you don't get the nod. But you definitely want to play."
Cooper said Vasilevskiy would play in one, maybe two games in this season-opening four-game homestand. With only one back-to-back situation this month, both Bishop and Vasilevskiy have to share starts to stay sharp.
It also helps the development of Vasilevskiy, a future No. 1 who was signed to a three-year extension in July. Bishop is in the final year of his deal at $5.95 million.
NUTS AND BOLTS: There are no other lineup changes, so D Slater Koekkoek will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game.... D Braydon Coburn will play in his 700th career game tonight, J.T. Brown in his 200th. "You just want to get to your second game, especially as a young guy," Coburn said. "You don't look at the 700 behind you, you look at whatever is in front of you."