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 new goalie plan: Give Vasilevskiy more starts


Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) cools off during a break in the action in the second period of game game seven of the Eastern Conference final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) cools off during a break in the action in the second period of game game seven of the Eastern Conference final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Thursday, May 26, 2016.

TAMPA — As expected, G Ben Bishop started the Lightning's season-opening 6-4 win against the Red Wings on Thursday.

He's the team's unquestioned No. 1 goalie and will get the lion's share of the starts this season.

But backup Andrei Vasilevskiy is likely to get more starts than usual.

Coach Jon Cooper said that ideally Bishop would get around 50 starts and Vasilevskiy 30. "If you could map it up, it'd be unreal," he said.

That kind of split accomplishes two things: It allows Bishop to remain fresh and healthy for what the Lightning hopes is a long playoff run, and Vasilevskiy can stay sharp and maintain his development as a No. 1 in waiting.

Backups typically play in back-to-back game situations, but the Lightning has only one of those in the first month of the season. So Vasilevskiy will have to get mixed in, including on this four-game homestand. Bishop said he has set a standard to start 60 games, which he has in each of the past three seasons. But if everything goes as planned for Tampa Bay, he might miss that mark this year.

"With every year, Vasy has gotten better and better and better," Cooper said. "Just got to keep getting these guys more games. Let's be honest. (Vasilevskiy is) a big part of our team today and in the future."

RELATED: The Lightning starts the season with a 6-4 win over the Red Wings.

PAQUETTE SHOOTS, SCORES: F Cedric Paquette said he wanted to think more offensively this season, and he proved that with an unassisted goal in the second period that cut the Red Wings' lead to 3-2.

Paquette broke into the offensive zone along the left boards. Instead of dumping the puck like he said he would have last season, Paquette shot on net. The puck found its way past G Petr Mrazek.

"Just tried to get it on net and got lucky there," he said.

The goal seemed to spark the Lightning, which scored the next three goals.

"After my goal, I think we took it over," Paquette said, "and we didn't look back."

ON POINT: F Brayden Point kept noticing on Twitter on Wednesday night the details of the remarkable NHL debut of the Maple Leafs' 2016 No. 1 overall draft pick, Auston Matthews, who scored four goals against the Senators.

"That was the line in the room (Thursday), 'The standard has been set,' " coach Jon Cooper quipped. "Got to chase that one down."

Point, 20, who made his NHL debut Thursday night in the season opener against the Red Wings, wasn't shooting for that league record.

"I wouldn't hold my breath for that," Point said, smiling. "Just try to have a good game, have fun and soak it all in."

Point's parents, Janice and Grant, and brother Kade, 13, arrived from Calgary on Wednesday night. The family had dinner at Jackson's Bistro in Tampa.

Point, a third-round pick in 2014, will slot in on the third line with Valtteri Filppula and Vladislav Namestnikov. Cooper's pregame advice to Point: Be yourself.

" 'Ultimately, you made it. You've got hockey sense, you can skate, you know how to play. Don't ever lose your competitive edge, because that's one of the things for undersized guys right now. It's pushing you over the top,' " Cooper said.

NUTS AND BOLTS: D Slater Koekkoek was a healthy scratch. … D Andrej Sustr got into his first NHL fight.

Times staff writer Roger Mooney contributed to this report.

Lightning's new goalie plan: Give Vasilevskiy more starts 10/13/16 [Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2016 12:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.