1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy makes 200th career start

Vasilevskiy is the second Lightning goaltender to reach the milestone, and the youngest.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) seats his helmet in place during a break in play during the second period 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]
Published Oct. 5
Updated Oct. 5

SUNRISE — Jon Cooper stopped Andrei Vasilevskiy on his way into the dressing room before the game.

“Hey, 200th start tonight,” he said. When the goaltender expressed confusion, the coach repeated it. Vasilevskiy pointed to himself. “Yeah, you,” Cooper said. Vasilevskiy gave a little nod and bigger smile.

In truth, neither one had known until a reporter asked Cooper about it. The milestone sneaked up on them. He’s only the second Lightning goalie to reach that mark, and the youngest. Ben Bishop did it in his seventh season, at age 29.

MORE LIGHTNING: Did you know Tyler Johnson studied anesthesiology?

“That’s a lot of starts for someone at a young age,” Cooper said. “You see a little bit later development for some of these players as they mature at an older age.”

He pointed out you can hide a forward, less so a defenseman and definitely not a goalie, as why goalies tend to develop later. Cooper credited Vasilevskiy’s talent and work ethic. He’d would know, he’s coached Vasilevskiy his whole career, starting as a callup, then a backup, then the secondary in a split-crease and finally the full-time starter.

“There’s a reason they call him the Big Cat,” Cooper said. “He moves like a cat and he has the reflexes and he has the size. It’s a lethal combination.”

MORE LIGHTNING: Don't miss a thing. Subscribe using promo code GOBOLTS to get three months of unlimited digital access for $14


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  2. New Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk hopes to rebound from a disappointing two-year stint with the Rangers. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Like Tampa Bay, the former Ranger has something to prove this season | Martin Fennelly
  3. After Colorado's 6-2 whitewash on Saturday left goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning looking for answers, the Bolts had a spirited practice at Amalie Arena on Sunday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Defenseman Ryan McDonagh says the team has failed to meet expectations in this early stage of the season
  4. Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) tussle behind the Colorado net during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times
    Tampa Bay racks up 18 penalty minutes in Saturday’s 6-2 loss to Colorado.
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) is beaten (again) by Colorado Avalanche center Tyson Jost (17) for the go-ahead goal (2-1) during the second period Saturday at Amalie Arena. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Little goes right for Tampa Bay, which is dominated by Colorado.
  6. The Tampa Bay Lightning's alternate jerseys hang in the locker room last season. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    The “Disrupt the Night”-themed jerseys were a bone of contention among some fans and broadcasters last season because of illegible numbers.
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) scores against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) in a shootout on Oct. 17 in Boston. The Lightning won 4-3. ELISE AMENDOLA  |  AP
    Journal: Tampa Bay will spend three games at home before another extended stint on the road, and tonight’s post-game concert is moving inside.
  8. Former Lightning wing Ryan Callahan's debut as an NHL Network analyst is drawing positive reviews. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Slap Shots: And we answer this week’s reader’s question: Why doesn’t Victor Hedman play more minutes, like other No. 1 defensemen?
  9. Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with teammates after he scored in overtime of the team's NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers, Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 in Sunrise, Fla. The Avalanche won 5-4. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) WILFREDO LEE  |  AP
    Now the Avalanche head to Amalie Arena for a showdown with the Lightning on Saturday.
  10. Nikita Kucherov teams with Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos to give the Lightning one of the most potent top lines in the league. They'll face off against another "super line" Saturday against Colorado. Tampa Bay Times
    After the Boston Bruins’ super trio, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov look for more success against Colorado’s concentrated scorers.