Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

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
Updated May 22

(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

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Forward Nikita Kucherov (86) suffered a right leg injury Saturday in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 5-2 loss to Washington. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay hasn’t played without Kucherov for more than two consecutive games since 2016.
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning trainer Tom Mulligan attends to right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) who was injured during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. Lightning right wing Mathieu Joseph (7), center Brayden Point (21) and defenseman Erik Cernak (81) look on. [CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP]
    Last year’s NHL MVP was injured blocking a shot early in the Lightning’s 5-2 loss Saturday
  3. Lightning coach Jon Cooper, left, said Andrei Vasilevskiy will start in goal for the Lightning Saturday night against Washington at Amalie Arena. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    Braydon Coburn returned to the ice, but there’s no update on Tyler Johnson
  4. Twenty years after making his debut as an NHL coach with the Lightning, Steve Ludzik is in dire need of a liver transplant. After a Facebook post by his wife MaryAnn earlier this week, a flood of potential donors have come forward. A handful have been identified as possible matches, but more are still being sought. Call (416) 340-5400 for more information. [Times files]
    Once diagnosed with Parkinson’s during his brief tenure as Lightning coach from 1999-01, Steve Ludzik is now in the fight of his life.
  5. Andrei Vasilevskiy was back to his usual acrobatic maneuvers while stopping 27 of 29 shots Thursday night, including this second period save on Boston Bruins center Joakim Nordstrom (20) with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) helping. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    John Romano | Tampa Bay’s early-season struggles were matched by the goaltender, whose numbers were not as dominant as last season. In recent games, that seems to have changed.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) beats Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during the second period of the game on Thursday, December 12, 2019, between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes]
    The captain has a four-game goal streak and is one of the league’s hottest players this month.
  7. Bruins play-by-play broadcaster shared some thoughts during Thursday's game against the Lightning. [DIANA NEARHOS  |  TIMES]
    Three questions with Jack Edwards, the Boston Bruins’ legendary play-by-play broadcaster.
  8. The Lightning took on the Bruins at home on Thursday.
  9. 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. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Bring a new, unwrapped toy to either (or both!) of the next two games
  10. Boston's David Pastrnak, left, and Washington's Alex Ovechkin were the NHL's top two goal-scorers through Tuesday's games. Both are coming to Tampa this week to face the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
    The Lightning face the NHL’s top two teams Thursday and Saturday
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement