BUFFALO—It's been three weeks, but Louis Domingue is finally getting another start. The Lightning are in the first game of a back-to-back Saturday in Buffalo and so the back-up goaltender gets a turn.
Originally, Tampa Bay was looking to get Domingue roughly a game a week, maybe two weeks, but that general schedule went out the window when Andrei Vasilevskiy got hurt. Domingue played 11 games in a row when Vasilevskiy first went down. Now, since Vasilevskiy returned Dec. 13, Domingue has only played once in the last 12 games.
The difference to a start every week or two and not in three weeks is a big one. It came from the need to get Vasilevskiy back in a rhythm after four weeks off. That and the schedule, finally the Lightning had not just a day but two days between games, and no back-to-backs.
"It's the unheralded job," coach Jon Cooper said about being a backup. "When the game is played there are 20 guys played but only 19 play."
Domingue knows it well. He has repeatedly said he knows his role. But he also said it make a difference to get back into his rhythm of playing every game. Now, he's on an even more sporadic schedule.
"Mentally, it's a completely different animal," Cooper said. "The guys who excel at it, as Louis has done, really help teams win."