Vasilevskiy shuts out another opponent in win

by Gary Shelton on January 3, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy leads the NHL with six shutouts./STEVE MUNCIE

Vasilevskiy leads the NHL with six shutouts./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 1 a.m.

Every day, he gets bigger. Every game, he gets better.

More and more, the image of Andrei Vasilevskiy looming in net becomes more intimidating. Not long ago, he was 6-foot-3. These days, he seems 10 feet tall, and he wears the net for a belt.

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Vasilevskiy has 26 wins to lead the NHL./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy has 26 wins to lead the NHL./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy was at it again Tuesday night, tossing his second straight shutout in a 2-0 victory over Toronto. It was his third shutout in four games, and his sixth of the season.

"It’s comforting. just watching him grow," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The big question was is he going to be able to be a No. 1 goal. He's been a pleasure to watch. He makes us a little bigger on the bench, that's for sure."

At the start of the season, Vasilevskiy was a question mark. Yes, he had played in a Stanley Cup Finals and a conference championship, but it was unsure how he would handle the starting job.

Any questions?

“Our guys play well all season long," Vasilevskiy said. "Just sometimes I help them. Sometimes they’re helping me. We scored two huge goals in the second and just played really simple and that’s why we get a second shutout in a row. It’s all about our team, so we’ve played very well the last couple games.”

Vasilevskiy stopped 30 shots against the Leafs.

“He’s been our best player all year, kind of quietly going about it but in this locker room we understand the type of character he has, how hard he works," said Chris Kunitz. "He goes out there and keeps the composure of our team when he’s not phased, our team just goes out and plays the same way. It’s nice for him to get the shutout, but a lot of people did a lot of good things to help him get there."

Kunitz said he was beyond being surprised by Vasilevskiy.

“Not me, for sure not. I think we all know how hard he works and how he kind of demands to get better each single day. It’s something that’s enjoyable to watch a guy who maybe a lot of people didn’t have on their radar but we know we’re pretty lucky to have a goalie like him.”

Said Alex Killorn, who scored a goal: “Even in practice, you can tell he’s a great goalie. He makes unbelievable saves. He’s so committed to getting better. You see that in practice. He’s done a good job of improving, and I think for him, the sky's the limit. We’ve seen how good he can be, and he can only get better from there.”

The Bolts' first goal came from Cedric Paquette, who scored his first goal of the season and his first in almost a year.

Tampa Bay now travels to Montreal to play a game on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7 p.m.




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