Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour called Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy the best goalie in the world after Game 1 of their second-round series.
NHL general managers confirmed that when they voted the Lightning goalie a finalist for the Vezina Trophy for the fourth year in a row.
Tuesday night, Vasilevskiy showed why when he helped hold the Carolina Hurricanes off the scoreboard for more than 58 minutes and finished with 31 saves in a 2-1 victory that put the Central Division winners in a 2-0 hole.
Counting Games 1 and 2 and the Game 6 clincher against the Florida Panthers, Vasilevskiy has stopped 97 of the last 99 shots he has faced.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and center Brayden Point celebrate their team's 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo: James Guillory, USA TODAY Sports)
"He’s clearly dominant," Brind'Amour said. "You got to keep shooting pucks. … There’s a lot of pucks we fired at him that we were in front of him and they were in front of him and traffic everywhere and still he’s able to get them."
The Lightning got goals from Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli and Tampa Bay kept Carolina off the scoreboard until Andrei Svechnikov beat Vasilevskiy after a quick Jordan Staal pass from behind the net with 1:30 left.
But Vasilevskiy made a big save on Staal in close with 8.4 seconds left, and the defending champions held on for the win.
Dave Mishkin calls Vasilevskiy’s huge save on Staal to hold on late in the 3rd #GoBolts#TBLvsCAR#StanleyCuppic.twitter.com/zl0kxADLDc
PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: Dates, times, television and results
EPIC COLLAPSE: What awaits Maple Leafs after loss to Canadiens?
The Lightning head back home for the next two games, and the Hurricanes are in injury trouble. Already missing 20-goal scorer Nino Niederreiter, they lost No. 2 scorer Vincent Trocheck when he collided with a teammate.
"He doesn’t look good," Brind'Amour said. "I don’t know exactly the extent of it at this point. But he obviously couldn’t finish, which is never good. You know he would play if he could."
After returning for the start of the third, Vincent Trocheck has gone back to the Canes’ locker room.
He collided with Warren Foegele late in the second period. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uNAzLGD0Zx
Vasilevskiy, who had 31 wins and a .925 save percentage this season, won the Vezina Trophy in 2018-19. He said he was honored to be nominated again, but considers it "a team effort."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was more effusive, saying when Vasilevskiy is in a zone, there's no better goalie.
"It does make you sit an inch taller on the bench when you got him back there," Cooper said.
Source: Read Full Article