Friday, January 19, 2018
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Joe Smith

Struggling Vasilevskiy can use some rest

One night after being named to his first all-star game, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed five goals.

That was not the most he'd allowed in a game during a three-game stretch.

Vasilevskiy allowed six in a loss Jan. 6 at Ottawa and four during a win Tuesday against visiting Carolina. He gave up five on 24 shots in a 5-1 loss Thursday to visiting Calgary.

That's 15 goals in three games.

Yikes.

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"Sometimes games like this are going to happen," Vasilevskiy said after Thursday's loss. "You can see in the last couple of games that I've played. Just tips, bad breaks, bounces, all this stuff and it ends up in the back of our net. But it happens sometimes."

Vasilevskiy still leads the league in wins (27) and shutouts (6). In fact, he pitched back-to-back shutouts to start the Lightning's last road trip.

"I'm chalking some of that up to some tough breaks against us. That happens," coach Jon Cooper said. "Right before that he went shutout, shutout, but consistently he's been our top performer. He's been phenomenal for us. He richly deserves to be in the All-Star Game, and it's good for all of us, including him, to get away and recharge the batteries."

The recharging begins today, the first day of the Lightning's five-day bye week.

"Yes, get a little rest and come back to play with a clear mind and rested body," Vasilevskiy said.

The rest comes at a good time. Vasilevskiy's 38 starts are tied for the most in the league by a goalie. And he's had to work a lot recently, facing 38, 33 and 32 shots respectively, in his three games prior to Thursday.

"Yeah, especially after the last couple of games. Luck wasn't on our side," Vasilevskiy said. "Lots of goals, bad bounces and tips. We didn't get that luck the last couple of games so it's good to get the break."

The Lightning are concerned about Victor Hedman, who left Thursday's game with a leg injury that could prove to be serious. That's a legitimate worry.

The goalie? Not so much.

"You saw what he can do," captain Steven Stamkos said. "I think a couple of those games we didn't play very well in front of him. For as much as he's done so far this year I don't think we can sit here and be worried about Vasy. We got to be worried about our team. We've given up 15 goals as a team. That's not a recipe for success. We've won a few of those but we got to shore up defensively. You can't win games when you're giving up four or five goals a night."

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