Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Vasilevskiy sent to AHL for playing time

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), of Russia, blocks a shot on goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Tampa Bay won 4-3. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) NCGB111

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), of Russia, blocks a shot on goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. Tampa Bay won 4-3. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome) NCGB111

TAMPA — G Andrei Vasilevskiy understands his role as backup, but that doesn't make it any easier go more than a week between starts.

"I need more games," Vasilevskiy said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Vasilevskiy got his wish, getting reassigned to AHL Syracuse so that he can play for the Crunch tonight and Saturday. G Kristers Gudlevskis was recalled and was available to back up Ben Bishop, who started Thursday and is expected to play Saturday against Washington.

Vasilevskiy played in seven games since his early November return from vascular surgery. He was pulled in the second period of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Kings after allowing two goals on 10 shots. It was his first start since Nov. 27. Vasilevskiy is 2-4 with a 2.76 goals-against average, having lost his last four starts.

"I think usually when I play, I feel better," Vasilevskiy said. "I feel myself sharp. I feel the puck, I control the puck better. If I don't, for me, it's something very hard."

It's a delicate balance of developing Vasilevskiy, presumably the Lightning's No. 1 goalie of the future, and the fact that the Lightning (13-12-3) is desperate for points. With Bishop playing arguably the best hockey of his career, he's carried a heavy load, appearing in 23 of 29 games. But Vasilevskiy could rejoin the Lightning for its back-to-back games Monday (Columbus) and Tuesday (Toronto).

"Andrei Vasilevskiy is a goaltender on our team and he's staying that way, and he's got a big future in this league," coach Jon Cooper said. "But Ben Bishop is our starter right now and if there's little pockets where Vasy can get games I'm sure that's going to be the plan for him. Other than that he's got to do what Ben Bishop had to do when he was coming up. All these starting goaltenders, not too many of them jumped right in and grabbed the net and stayed in the net.

"This is part of the learning process, but in saying that, you got to get the guys games, whether it's in the NHL or American League, when you can fit games in for goaltenders you got to find a way."

WELCOME BACK: LW Ondrej Palat returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a left ankle injury Nov. 7. With Palat back, the touted Triplets line — with C Tyler Johnson, RW Nikita Kucherov— was reunited.

WAITING GAME: C Cedric Paquette (upper body) and RW Erik Condra (lower body) did not participate in Thursday's skate, both at least a week away from returning. Cooper said Paquette could be sidelined as long as two weeks. Paquette has played in just 10 games this season.

"We're definitely erring on the side of caution because we can't put these guys in position there when they come back for a game or two and then are gone for another month," Cooper said. "Better let them rest now and hope in a week or so we'll look back and say, 'Okay, yes, they're ready to go.' "

NUTS AND BOLTS: With D Nikita Nesterov in the lineup, D Matt Carle was a healthy scratch for the third time. Tampa Bay went with 12 forwards/six defensemen.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning's Vasilevskiy sent to AHL for playing time 12/10/15 [Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2015 11:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  2. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  3. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  4. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70

    Footballpreps

    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.
  5. A second chance at life, away from the game he loved

    The Heater

    Dylan Delso, a catcher for the Tampa Bay Rays' Gulf Coast League team, displays his scar at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. On June 25, 2016 Delso fell backward down a flight of stairs, suffering a nearly fatal head injury that put him in a coma for eight days. He's finally back on the baseball field after a miraculous recovery.