The Tampa Bay Lightning are off to one of the best starts in the NHL this season. Their dominance at home includes six straight wins. A big reason for the Lightning’s success has been the outstanding play of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Vasilevskiy has been a model of consistency, winning nine straight starts for the Lightning. This ties the young Russian for a franchise record with John Grahame, a Tampa Bay legend who accomplished the feat in 2005.
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to sports fans that Tampa Bay is making a strong start. The team is deep at every position and has been knocking on the door of a second Stanley Cup for a couple of years now. With the play of Vasilevskiy and Steven Stamkos, the Bolts cannot be disputed as a contender. It is Vasilevskiy, however, who is getting a lot of cheers from the fans at Amalie Arena.
There were some concerns among fans when the Bolts traded goalie Ben Bishop to the Dallas Stars. Bishop is the tallest goaltender to ever play in the NHL and his presence in front of the Tampa Bay net was often key to the team’s success. Vasilevskiy was tasked with filling some big shoes when he assumed the starting role for the 2017-18 season.
The young man has thus far shown incredible poise. During his nine-game winning streak, Vasilevskiy has posted a save percentage of .946. It is still early in the season but the goalie is making a difference. His performance on the Lightning’s home ice is especially impressive. The Bolts recently fell to the Anaheim Ducks at home, snapping a six-game win streak in Amalie Arena. During that stretch, Vasilevskiy had games with 28 or more saves. These performances included outings against the Detroit Red Wings and other tough teams.
Will the Russian be able to continue his excellent play? Fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning hope so. At the moment it appears that staying healthy for the entire NHL season may be the biggest threat Vasilevskiy will face as the Bolts chase another chance at the Cup.