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Andrei Vasilevskiy says he’s feeling ‘much better’ after day off

Lightning No. 1 sits out Wednesday practice, adjusting to mental and physical fatigue
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on during a stoppage in play agains the Washington Capitals during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on during a stoppage in play agains the Washington Capitals during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).
Published Mar. 14, 2018|Updated Mar. 15, 2018

While the Lightning went through an intense, two-session, 90-minute practice Wednesday afternoon, Andrei Vasilevskiy was nowhere to be found.

The Lightning's No. 1 goalie was getting some much-needed rest and treatment in the dressing room. Probably a massage, too.

Vasilevskiy, 23, will also take advantage of Thursday's team off-day, a built-in break for an All-Star who admitted he has dealt with mental and physical fatigue in his first full season as a starter.

"I feel so much better," Vasilevskiy said Wednesday. "Probably because we were on the road for a long time, I was a little bit tired. But now we're at home,  have a better schedule. So I feel much better now. Much, much better."

Vasilevskiy has played in a career-high 57 games (56 starts), which is seven more than last season, with Tampa Bay hoping for 25-plus more if there's a long Stanley Cup run. He said physically he has been fine, it has been more a mental fatigue issue, which he tries to fix by spending more time with his wife and young son, Lukas.

"Trying to keep my mind clear," Vasilevskiy said.

Vasilevskiy said staying away from practice was  hard after Tuesday's disappointing 7-4 loss to Ottawa in which he got pulled — mercifully — after two periods. It wasn't his fault, coaches just wanted to give him a break.

"He's a workhorse," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "(We said), 'Just stay away.' You can tell his frustration level, so give him a little bit of a breather, give him a couple days and he'll be back. He's a great kid, great goalie, great teammate. We're not too worried about Vasy."

Slap shots

Coach Jon Cooper was scheduled to have a minor medical procedure Wednesday and will miss Friday's practice with the hope he'll be back for Saturday's game against Boston. … LW Ondrej Palat (lower body), out since Jan. 20, shed his red non-contact jersey for the first time since his Jan. 20 injury. Palat didn't think  he'd be ready by Saturday. "I want to be ready for the playoffs," he said.

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