Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy leads the way for Lightning

Everywhere you turn when it comes to the Lightning these days, you’re talking about something outstanding.

The team leads the NHL with eight wins and 17 points. Captain Steven Stamkos leads the league in scoring with 20 points. Nikita Kucherov leads the league with 11 goals. Both players have at least a point in all 10 Lighting games. The Lightning have the best power play in the league.

And then there is their most important player.

It’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, all 23 years of him, has been the real reason the Lightning are 8-1-1.

Vasilevskiy has been in the net for all those wins, leading the league. He has a 2.22 goals against and a .936 save percentage. Ove the last five games, he has allowed just five goals and owns a .970 save percentage. He is there when his team needs him.

Check out his save percentages these last five games: .966, .935, 1.000, .966, .969.

"We’re playing really defensively, guys doing an amazing job in front of me," Vasilevskiy said. "It’s all about the team. They’re helping me. I’m helping them."

Vasilevskiy and his team stated slowly that opening weekend in a back-to-back with Florida, which included the Lightning’s only regulation loss.

Vasilevskiy has been there ever since.

"You’ve seen it," Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said. "How many goals has he given up the last five games? That just goes to show you defense is going to win games. But we’re relying on him a little too much, to many grade-A scoring changes against. Obviously, he’s been great."

"There’s room for improvement for everyone," Vasilevskiy said. "It’s all about consistency. I know we’re not going to play our best game every night. Sometimes, they’re going to score six goals. Some nights I need to be there. Some plays, I need to be there. I help them."

There’s something about No. 88.

"If there’s one thing, the kid does not quit," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "He’s never out of a save. We’re early into the season, but there are at least three or four already this year, where you say, ‘Oh, that’s in the net.’ And then it’s not. He defines battling. You can look at his physical stature, his athletic ability, his technique, all those things. But he’s got that desire not to give them up, not get beaten."

The Lightning have their answer in goal No doubt. They just can’t get too comfortable with that fact.

"You can’t rely on your goaltender to bail you out every time," Hedman said.

Andre Vasilevskiy has won more games than any goalie.

He’s not getting comfortable.

"So far. It’s nice," he said. "That doesn’t mean we can take a breath."

 

 

Comments
Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

It's rare to see an NHL draft pick with Tampa Bay ties, but the Jets used a third-round pick Saturday on center Nathan Smith, 19, who played for Mitchell High School in Trinity and most recently for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.Smith was ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Despite limited salary-cap room, the Lightning is among at least five teams expected to talk with Islanders All-Star center John Tavares, who can be a free agent July 1, when the courting period begins Sunday, ESPN reported.Tavares also is expected t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Even without a first-round pick, the Lightning wrapped up its draft with seven picks Saturday, starting with Gabriel Fortier, an undersized 18-year-old forward from Quebec in the second round."They were guys that we really wanted," Lightning director...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec."I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest,...
Published: 06/23/18
Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

The Lightning isn't scheduled to pick until the second round, but there's no telling how active they might be with trades, so you'll want to follow our live coverage throughout the NHL draft Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7) in Dallas.(funct...
Published: 06/23/18
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Published: 06/22/18
Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

The Lightning has filled one of the openings on Jon Cooper's coaching staff, announcing Friday  that former Tampa Bay forward Jeff Halpern has been hired as an assistant coach.Halpern, 42, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the ...
Published: 06/22/18
Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

As expected, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he does not intend to re-sign veteran forward Chris Kunitz, who will seek his fifth Stanley Cup with a different team next season.Kunitz, 38, brought much-needed playoff experience in his lone...
Published: 06/22/18
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Published: 06/21/18