Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy makes ‘unbelievable’ save against Maple Leafs

Thursday against Toronto's Patrick Marleau, the Tampa Bay netminder made one of the best saves you'll see from a goalie.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) robs Toronto Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau (12) on a shot during the third period. [AP Photo/Chris O'Meara]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) robs Toronto Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau (12) on a shot during the third period. [AP Photo/Chris O'Meara]
Published December 14 2018
Updated December 14 2018

Andrei Vasilevskiy makes inconceivable moves. He finds ways to make saves that seem impossible. And he does it over and over.

On Thursday night, Vasilevskiy made one of the best goals you'll see from a goalie. Yet, he's made other just-as-crazy saves.

The save Vasilevskiy made on Toronto's Patrick Marleau needs to be watched a couple of times. And you're still not sure how he did it.

The first save was good, but not all that special, just a save from the point. Then Marleau got involved. He picked up the rebound and tried to put it on net before Vasilevskiy got set. No such luck.

Vasilevskiy stretched out wide left with his glove and got most of the shot, but the puck got past him. At that point, Vasilevskiy couldn't have known where the puck was. He then reached his leg out straight back, kicking to swipe where the puck should be. He just caught it with his toe, and pulled it away from the goal line.

Coach Jon Cooper said when any goaltender gets in a zone, they're tough to beat. That is especially true of someone like Vasilevskiy.

"There's a lot of things to it," he said. "One, he's extremely talented. His size, his athleticism, his compete."

Both center Anthony Cirelli and Cooper called the save unbelievable. Neither of them could pick which was better between that one and the behind-the-back Vasilevskiy made against Los Angeles last year.

"They're both unbelievable, I can't choose," Cirelli said. "In different ways. This one, there's no way he could even tell the puck was there, so for him to sweep his foot over and save that was just unbelievable."

Defenseman Braydon Coburn actually chose the behind-the-back save—while Victor Hedman advised him not to answer the question.

"It just looked so smooth," he said. "It was a personal favorite of mine just because you try that when you're playing road hockey all the time."

Coburn also praised Thursday's save, saying it showed elite athleticism and Vasilevskiy makes saves even when it looks like he's down and out.

The NHL tweeted the gif of the save, calling it a save of the year candidate, separately tweeting "still can't figure this one out."

Here's the crazy thing. There's another save that needs to be part of the debate for Vasilevskiy's best save. Before he signed with the Lightning, when he was a 19-year-old playing for the KHL's Ufa Salavat Yulayev, he made another deemed "save of the year."

It was another multi-effort save. Vasilevskiy made an initial pad save, then followed the rebound to make a toe-save. He had to sprawl backwards to make the next glove save and his momentum spun him toward the goal line. Vasilevskiy managed to pull his glove close to his body, keeping it off the goal line, as his blocker flung into the net and spun his whole body around.

It's too bad Vasilevskiy doesn't like talking about his saves (he declined to do so on Friday), because he could tell some great stories.

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