Vasy’s overtime save lifts Bolts in comeback

by Gary Shelton on December 15, 2021

in general

Vasilevskiy thwarted another breakaway./TIM WIRT

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

Defeat was flying toward him, as it often does. Failure was in the air. All that stood between disappointment and the Tampa Bay Lightning was Andrei Vasilevskiy, again.

Again, it was enough.

It was in overtime, and Anze Kopitar had the puck on his stick and the Lightning defenders behind him. It was a classic one-on-one breakaway, the kind that gives goaltenders nightmares.

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Joseph scored the game-winner./Tim Wirt

Kopitar moved down the center of the ice as Vasilevskiy braced, closing the five hole. Then Kopitar made a nice move to his right, trying to tuck the puck inside the posts. And, somehow, Vasilevskiy stretched his left leg out and blunted the puck.

Seconds later, Mathieu Joseph tucked in his own breakaway, and the Lightning won a 3-2 overtime game over the Los Angeles Kings.

""Any male that watched that cringed," marveled head coach Jon Cooper later.

"His athletic ability..." Cooper continued. "He works at that constantly, hydrating, stretching. It helps he's 6-3 or 6-4. His ability to go coast to coast and laterally is incredible. Koppy made a nice move. Not too many people can make that save."

For the night, Vasy made 28 saves to earn his league-leading 15th victory.

Victor Hedman and Taylor Raddysh also scored goals for Tampa Bay.

“You get into  overtime, at least you're munching points, as i always say," Cooper said. "Overtime is part of the game. Getting points is part of the game. We've been in a few overtimes this year, more this year than all of last year combined. We're getting some favorable results. It comes with the belief of winning games."

The Bolts trailed 1-0 and 2-1 before coming back for the win.

The Bolts are home on Thursday night at Amalie Arena against the Ottawa Senators. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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