Lightning goalie Vasilevskiy in league of his own

A day after the Tampa Bay Lightning convincingly beat the Montreal Canadiens in Video Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Andrei Vasilevskiy was snubbed by the NHL’s basic supervisors. 

Elect the routine season awards had actually been arranged and in an unexpected result, Vasilevskiy was edged by Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury for the Vezina Prize. No matter. This wasn’t the hardware Vasilevskiy was concentrated on, as his representative Dan Milstein specifically specified, nor was Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champ in his own right. 

As it stands, nevertheless, Vasilevskiy is now well-positioned to leave with 2 significant prizes, a 2nd successive Stanley Cup, along with the Conn Smythe Prize, adjudged to the postseason’s most important gamer. 

Tampa Bay, the safeguarding champ, got in the Last as a huge preferred over Montreal, who ended up the routine season 18th general, prior to utilizing its skillfully released counterattack and remarkable goaltending to knock off Toronto, Winnipeg and Vegas in succession. And though it’s little surprise that the Lightning hold a 2-0 series lead as the series heads back to Montreal, it’s challenging to state that they have actually played their finest video game, with the possible exception of the Yanni Gourde line. 

Montreal was the remarkable group in Video game 2, and through 2 video games has actually published a 56.73 Corsi for and 53.8 percent share of the anticipated objectives, according to Natural Stat Technique, while likewise holding a 62-50 benefit in shots. In some cases Vasilevskiy is the distinction, as held true Wednesday night. 

Vasilevskiy made 42 conserves and kept the Lightning strongly in a contest where they were beat completely. And with the substantial gulf in skill, as Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos remain in a various tier than any Canadiens enemy, in some cases it feels practically unreasonable that they likewise have the world’s finest goaltender at their disposal, efficient in bailing his group out on an off night. 

“Just the absolute competitive gamer that we know he is,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh stated of Vasilevskiy after Video game 2. “Night in and night out the backbone of this team. Can’t say enough good things about him. We certainly want to make it a little bit easier of a night than we had to for him, but man he’s an absolute warrior and competitor and obviously was probably the biggest piece of our win here tonight.”

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 30: Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates after defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in Game Two of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on June 30, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy commemorates after winning Video game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

This series was frequently billed as a match in between the NHL’s 2 finest goaltenders, and though he remains in leading kind, that feels a bit revisionist and charitable towards Cost as Vasilevskiy remains in a different tier at the minute. He published a gleaming .925 save portion throughout the routine season, a 2.21 GAA, and a 20.96 objectives conserved above average (GSAA), which thinks about the number of objectives a goalie has actually conserved cumulatively, taking into consideration the league typical save portion on an equivalent variety of shots. Cost wasn’t in the exact same ballpark throughout the condensed project. 

A significant space still exists in between Vasilevskiy and Cost throughout the postseason too, although Montreal’s renowned goalie is the main reason that it’s here on the grandest phase. 

Vasilevskiy ranks initially in GSAA by a massive margin, high-danger conserves, conserves in all scenarios, 2nd in GAA (1.68, routing just Toronto’s Jack Campbell’s 1.55 mark) and 3rd in save portion with a jaw-dropping .944 mark at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Technique. Cost, for contrast, ranks initially in shots versus, 2nd in high-danger conserves, 2nd in conserves throughout all scenarios, 12th in GAA, and 18th in GSAA. Cost has actually been by any step the specifying part of the Canadiens’ playoff run, however he’s not on equivalent footing. 

And yet, you need to represent the quality of challenger. Vasilevskiy plays behind an exceptional group, a minimum of on paper and by standard knowledge. It feels practically unreasonable. However as evidenced in Video game 2, in some cases Vasilevskiy is the distinction for the Lightning, which need to be demoralizing to the Canadiens, who squeezed every ounce of production out of their resistant group, yet are 2 video games far from being purged of the Last. 

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.