ESTERO — With Andrei Vasilevskiy out 2-3 months after vascular surgery, Kristers Gudlevskis appears to be the leading in-house candidate to be the Lightning's backup goalie to start the season. But he still has to prove it on the ice, and he got off to a strong start Saturday night with 18 saves in a 5-1 win over Nashville to open the prospects tournament at Germain Arena.
"He was outstanding," AHL Syracuse coach Rob Zettler said. "He gave us a chance to come back with his play."
Gudlevskis kept the Lightning close with 14 first-period saves, many tough ones. He split the game with Adam Wilcox (18 saves), who was "quietly good," Zettler said.
Wing Mitchell Stephens, June's 33rd overall draft pick, scored twice. "It's something that I'll always remember," he said.
Center Brayden Point had a goal and an assist. Fourth-round pick wing Mathieu Joseph capped off his active game with a goal. Forward Cam Darcy also scored.
The Lightning plays the Capitals at 7 tonight. Wilcox is scheduled to play the whole game. More at tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.