The Tampa Bay Lightning had a less-than-stellar start in the Eastern Conference final as they fell 6-2 to the New York Rangers in Game 1. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had one of the worst showings of his postseason career after looking flawless in the previous round against the Florida Panthers. Less-than-stellar Start The Final Wednesday’s loss marked the third time in Vasilevskiy’s career that he surrendered six goals in a playoff game. Vasilevskiy stopped just 28 of the 34 shots that he faced in Game 1, but Lightning head coach Jon Cooper did elect to keep his star goalie in net despite his struggles.
While the Lightning’s start to the series wasn’t ideal, history reveals that it’s unlikely that Tampa Bay will have a repeat performance in Game 2 on Friday. Less-than-stellar Start The Final It wasn’t what many expected out of Vasilevskiy, but he’s been in this situation before and nearly always rebounds with a spectacular performance. With that in mind, here’s a look at how the Lightning goaltender has bounced back after surrendering at least five goals in a playoff game.
2018 Eastern Conference semifinals
- What Vasilevskiy gave up: During the 2018 postseason, Vasilevskiy surrendered five goals in a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
- How Vasilevskiy bounced back: The Lightning netminder responded by turning aside 18 of the 20 shots he faced in a 4-2 win over the Bruins in Game 2. The Lightning went on to win the next four games of that series and Vasilevskiy only gave up seven goals over those next four games
2018 Eastern Conference final
- What Vasilevskiy gave up: Prior to his Game 1 semifinals performance, the 27-year old allowed six goals in a 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of the 2018 Eastern Conference final
- How Vasilevskiy bounced back: As bad of a performance was that was, Vasilevskiy rebounded in Game 3 of that series by stopping 36 of the 38 shots he faced in a 4-2 Lightning win.
2019 first round
- What Vasilevskiy gave up: In the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vasilevskiy faced adversity once again after he allowed five goals in a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 2 of their first round series
- How Vasilevskiy bounced back: The Lightning goalie rebounded by allowing just two goals in Game 3 of that series and recorded 27 saves in the process.
2021 first round
- How Vasilevskiy bounced back: Vasilevskiy did rebound in Game 4 of that series with 39 saves on 41 shots in a 6-2 Lightning win over the Panthers. He ended up excelling throughout the 2021 postseason as he posted a 1.90 goals-against average and helped lead Tampa Bay to their second consecutive Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy.
2022 first round
- What Vasilevskiy gave up: Finally, Vasilevskiy actually gave up five goals earlier this postseason in Game 1 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs jumped all over the Lightning with four goals in the opening two periods
- How Vasilevskiy bounced back: It certainly wasn’t the best start to the playoffs, but Vasilevskiy bounced back with a solid in Game 2 in which he allowed three goals and recorded 31 saves in a 5-3 Lightning win. If you take this game and Wednesday’s contest out of the equation, Vasilevskiy has allowed three or fewer goals in nine of the team’s 12 playoff games this postseason.
Vasilevskiy has shown that he can shut down elite teams all year. History clearly shows that the Lightning traditionally don’t put together too bad games in a row.