Andrei Vasilevskiy of Tyumen, Russia played an integral role in the Tampa Bay Lightning reaching the Stanley Cup Playoff semifinals on Tuesday. The 26-year-old made 29 saves as the Lightning blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in game five of the Central Division Final. With the win, the Lightning won the best out of seven series four games to one in only five games.
Vasilevskiy made 11 saves in the first period, 10 saves in the second period, and eight saves in the third period. Hurricanes defensemen Brett Pesce of Tarrytown, NY, and Dougie Hamilton of Toronto, Ontario, led Carolina with five shots on goal each.
Offensively, Brayden Point of Calgary, Alberta scored the game-winning goal at 4:06 of the second period from Alex Killorn of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Nikita Kucherov of Maykop, Russia on the power-play. Then at the 9:04 mark of the third period, Lightning rookie Ross Colton of Robbinsville Township, NJ scored an unassisted marker to put the Lightning up 2-0. The insurance goal was huge, as it seemed to take the crowd in Raleigh out of the game.
The fact that Kucherov is playing a Hart Trophy and Art Ross Trophy style of game has been huge for Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Do not forget that Kucherov missed the entire regular season after recovering from hip surgery. In the playoffs, Kucherov now has 13 assists and 18 points to lead the NHL in each postseason category.
This was the third straight series-clinching win for the Lightning where Vasilevskiy picked up a shutout. In the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals in the Edmonton bubble, Vasilevskiy made 22 saves in a 2-0 Lightning win over the Dallas Stars. Then on May 26, Vasilevskiy made 29 saves in a 4-0 Lightning win over the Florida Panthers as Tampa Bay closed out Florida in six games.
Vasilevskiy has had a strong postseason so far. He leads the NHL in wins (eight), and shutouts (two). Vasilevskiy also has a goals against average of 2.24 and a save percentage of .934.