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Andrei Vasilevskiy ‘in the zone’ proves dangerous to Carolina

The Lightning goaltender merely saves 37 of 38 shots in the second-round opener over the Hurricanes.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a save on Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck with some help from defenseman Mikhail Sergachev in the first period Sunday.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes a save on Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck with some help from defenseman Mikhail Sergachev in the first period Sunday. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published May 31, 2021|Updated May 31, 2021

One Carolina fan’s sign did not age well after the Lightning’s second-round Game 1 win in Raleigh, N.C.: “Vasilevskiy, I’ve seen coupons save more than you do!!”

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy — the Vezina Trophy frontrunner — registered 37 saves on 38 shots in Sunday’s 2-1 victory.

In the first period, Vasilevskiy’s 15 saves contributed to a scoreless period. Carolina kept pressuring and Tampa Bay’s defense allowed the Hurricanes to set up some nice looks. But Vasilevskiy was a wall.

He has allowed just one goal in his past two games (Wednesday’s Game 6 against Florida was a 4-0 shutout to clinch a second-round berth) and has yet to come off the ice this postseason.

“He was (today) just as he was in Game 6 (against the Panthers),” coach Jon Cooper said. “He was in the zone. We really needed him that first period when they were all pumped up for Game 1, really exciting crowd, so they fed off that, and probably put us on a little bit of our heels in the beginning and that’s where we really needed him.”

Of his 37 saves, six came on the power play after the Lightning took five penalties. His one blemish was a power-play goal early in the third period from Carolina defenseman Jake Bean.

“We needed him on the penalty kills,” Cooper said. “We can’t be in situations where we’re giving them nine-plus, almost 10 minutes of power-play time in a 60-minute game. We’ve got to be better in that area, but when we needed him in those two areas, he was there for us.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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