Make us your home page

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.


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

  1. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Erasmo Ramirez #30 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Wilson Ramos feeling good and confident, eyeing late June return to Rays


    Sitting on the bench in the Rays dugout in his full catcher's gear, Wilson Ramos talked excitedly Tuesday about the progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and the potential to be back in the major leagues by this time next month.

    "I feel like a player right now,'' Ramos said.

    Wilson Ramos is aiming to be back with the Rays by this time next month.
  3. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  4. Why Ryan Fitzpatrick may solve the puzzle for Bucs at backup quarterback


    Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leave One Buc Place following Thursday’s off-season workout and fly home to New Jersey in time to teach a class of 10 second and third grade students how to solve the Rubiks Cube.

    The Bucs are hoping Ryan Fitzpatrick can provide the solution to their puzzle at backup quarterback behind starter Jameis Winston.
  5. For starters: Rays vs. Angels, with Cobb leading the way


    UPDATE, 5:32: 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) is not doing much in the way of baseball activity yet so that means he won't be ready when eligible to come off the DL on Friday. ... SS Matt Duffy (left heel) said he is still slowed by the big left toe he bruised taking BP on Saturday and does not have a date to …

    Alex Cobb will start tonight when the Rays play the Angels.