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.”
• • •
Sign up for Lightning Strikes, a weekly newsletter from Bolts beat writer Eduardo A. Encina that brings you closer to the ice.