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Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue earned redemption

Originally acquired as a third goalie, Domingue proved himself a more-than-capable NHL back-up.
Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue proved to be more than a capable backup for Tampa Bay this season.
Lightning goaltender Louis Domingue proved to be more than a capable backup for Tampa Bay this season.
Published May 22, 2019
Updated May 22, 2019

(This is the 19th in a series this month looking at each player on the Lightning’s roster. Up next: Braydon Coburn)

TAMPA — Louis Domingue started out as an insurance policy.

He turned out to be much more than that for the Lightning this year.

The Lightning traded for Domingue as a third goalie in November 2017. Entering this season as Andrei Vasilevskiy’s backup, he spent a month as the starter after Andrei Vasilevskiy broke a foot and helped launch the team on a 16-game point streak. And he set a franchise record with 11 consecutive wins.

The 27-year-old outperformed the third-goalie role. And his performance this season was a long way from having to rent his own ice time when he was with the Coyotes.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: A player-by-player review of Tampa Bay's season

Before Arizona traded him to the Lightning, Domingue was all but dismissed by the Coyotes. Worse than being released and receiving a chance to sign with another team, he was assigned to the AHL but never physically sent there. Instead, Domingue was sent home.

He rented his own ice time and skated with then-Arizona captain Shane Doan, unsure when his next chance to play would come. Finally, he was traded to the Lightning, assigned to AHL Syracuse and eventually given a chance as Tampa Bay’s backup.

This season turned into the Domingue redemption tour. He proved himself a more than capable backup. Four times he faced at least 40 shots, winning three.

He gave up a few leads but had some help doing so, and then clamped down late in games to give the Lightning a chance to win. The best example of that was a Nov. 17 win over the Flyers. Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead but squandered it. Domingue made a few impressive saves to get the game to overtime, when Anthony Cirelli scored.

Coach Jon Cooper repeatedly said backup goalie is one of the hardest roles on a team. The Lightning schedules which goalie will start which game, so Domingue usually knows when he’ll play. But it’s hard for a backup to stay sharp without game action.

Related: MORE IN THE SERIES: Ryan Callahan's Lightning tenure likely ended this season

When Vasilevskiy gave an interview about learning when to rest, Domingue quipped he’d be happy to take on a few more games so the starter could have more time off.

Yet it was in the backup role, with four to eight games between appearances, that Domingue won half of his record-setting 11 straight starts. He beat the record of nine set by starters John Grahame in 2005-06 and tied by Vasilevskiy in 2017-18. With another year on his contract at $1.15 million, look for him to return and continue as the backup.

And Domingue had fun along the way. For a while, he was the only Lightning player to engage with the camera during the team’s fist-bump-line videos after wins. He started taking it to the next level, adding props including Fathead graphics, a mini dirt bike and even blowtorches. In the “series finale,” Domingue set up velvet ropes and welcomed the Lightning to the 60-Win Club.

Louis Domingue’s season

High: Domingue made 29 saves and allowed just one goal in a 7-1 Dec. 8 win against the Avalanche, which had the most potent line in the NHL at the time.

Low: He allowed seven goals on 30 shots as his teammates were practically nonexistent in front of him in a 7-1 loss in his return to Arizona on Oct. 27..

By the numbers

21 Wins in 26 starts, the best rate of any goalie in the NHL this year

40 Saves in a game twice

1,561 Minutes played, third highest of his career


  1. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week.
  2. Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the puck commemorating his 700th career NHL goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils in the third period at Prudential Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Newark, New Jersey.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gives up a goal to Arizona Coyotes' Derek Stepan as Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) slides along the ice and Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) looks at the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury defends during the third period Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights won 5-3.
  7. Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin (9) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate in front of the Lightning bench during the Blue Jackets' first-round victory over Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The four-game sweep was Columbus' payoff for a few deals at the trade deadline for players with expiring contracts.
  8. Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) scores against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  9. The Lightning traded Danick Martel to the Panthers for Anthony Greco.
  10. Trading Martin St. Louis was hard, but the Lightning's return turned out to be even better than they thought at the time.
  11. Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher, left, flies into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney while pursuing the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, right, drives past Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon to score the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3.