Vasilevskiy says he learned from 'rough' experience as No. 1
Ben Bishop will be back in net for the Lightning tonight, having missed three weeks with a lower body injury.
And that's welcomed news for Andrei Vasilevskiy, 22, who could use a break after starting nine straight in Bishop's absence.
"I think even the best goalies in the world, they need some days off from games for sure," Vasilevskiy said Thursday. "Because it's tough to handle many games in a row."
Vasilevskiy admits his numbers were "rough" in his first stint as a No. 1, going 3-5 1 with a 3.78 goals against average and an .876 save percentage. But a lot of that had to do with how the team was playing in front of him, so it didn't zap his confidence. And Vasilevskiy believes this experience will benefit him the next time he's in the starting role.
Vasilevskiy thinks his biggest lessons were learning how to take more rest between games - doing treatment instead of extra workouts - and turning the page mentally.
"When you're playing more games in a row, it's actually real tough for your mind," Vasilevskiy said. "Especially after bad games, next game you try to handle your thoughts because it's tough to be in focus for all 60 minutes. You start thinking about the last game or you start thinking about the future. That's one of the most important, if not the most important, if you're strong mentally it's going to be much easier."
Vasilevskiy knows he gave up some "bad" goals. Some games, he didn't have much of a chance. "If you give up 30 scoring chances, it's tough, even if you're a Superman goalie," he said.
Coach Jon Cooper didn't offer much insight on whether Bishop will resume getting 2/3 of the starts or how the net will be split. But Vasilevskiy feels he can manage both his workload and his thoughts better when he gets his next shot.
"It was rough for my numbers," Vasilevskiy said. "But not rough for me mentally. I just got better."