TAMPA — Go around the Lightning dressing room, and it might be the toughest question for players to answer."What has been your favorite Andrei Vasilevskiy save this season?"Ryan Callahan laughed, shaking his head."Can I pick 10 of them?" Callahan said."There's so many," Yanni Gourde quipped from a few stalls over.For all the deserved hype Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are getting for their historic runs, Vasilevskiy is as responsible as anyone for the Lightning's 10-2-1 start. In just his first full season as Lightning No. 1, Vasilevskiy has, most nights, been the team's best player.Not only has Vasilevskiy set a franchise record for consecutive wins (nine), he's matched the single-season NHL record for wins in October (10). He ranks first among all goalies in saves (341) and shots against (368). But it's been Vasilevskiy's penchant for making the timely save that shows another step in his maturation process. He can win while not being at his best, like Monday's 8-5 win over the Panthers. The game might have had a different feel had Vasilevskiy not stopped Nick Bjugstad on a breakaway one minute, 30 seconds in."I've been impressed with how he's managing the game and how he's able to elevate his game in key moments in the game, making that save for us," goalie coach Frantz Jean said. "Sometimes, it's not the flashy ones, it just kind of denies their momentum and shifts it back to us."A goal here, a goal there, and the game has totally shifted."A few of Vasilevskiy's most timely saves of the season:• The Lightning was up 2-0 late in the first period Oct. 21 in a rematch with the Cup champion Penguins. Pittsburgh's Carl Hagelin had a great chance to cut the lead in half with 20 seconds left, but Vasilevskiy made a remarkable, sprawling arm stop before the puck crossed the goal line. Yanni Gourde would score the back-breaking, buzzer-beating goal soon after and the Lightning was off to a 7-1 rout."If there's one thing, the kid (Vasilevskiy) doesn't quit," 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 is not. He defines battling." VIDEO: Vasilevskiy vs. Hagelin • In the season opener, the Panthers pulled within a goal early in the third period. And with the extra attacker in the final minute, Dadonov got behind the Lightning defense and came in free on Vasilevskiy. The puck rolled a bit off Dadonov's stick, Vasilevskiy stood his ground, preserving the win. VIDEO: Vasilevskiy vs. Dadonov • The Lightning's 3-2 win in Detroit Oct. 13 was probably the one victory where the opponent deserved a better fate (at least a point). And the Red Wings might have got one if Henrik Zetterberg's first period power play chance was converted. The veteran slashed through several defenders before Vasilevskiy made the momentum-swinging stop."It's all about consistency," Vasilevskiy said. "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."• Tampa Bay rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Capitals Oct. 9. But the game might have had a different look had Washington's Evgeny Kutznetsov scored on his first period breakaway chance.• Vasilevskiy's stop on Jake Guentzel breakaway midway through the third period sealed a 5-4 win over the Penguins Oct. 12. "A game saver," Stamkos said.Jean said the Lightning deliberately gave Vasilevskiy a larger load to start the season, playing in 11 of the first 13 games, to get his momentum going and "get him to feel like he's the man in charge.""He knows he's 'the guy,'?" Jean said.And, so far, one of the best in the league.Times columnist Martin Fennelly contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com. Follow@TBTimes_JSmith.