Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t earn a star for his performance, but the Lightning would have lost Wednesday night if not for his 54-save stunner against the Washington Capitals. It’s among the best single-game save totals by a winning goalie in the past 30 years.
At a certain point, all you can do is laugh and wonder what in the world it takes to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Wednesday night in Washington, the Capitals and the Lightning met for the second time in four days, and looking to exact revenge for last Saturday’s loss, Alex Ovechkin and Co. did about everything that could have been asked cheap nhl jerseys china
of them. Washington scored the game’s opening goal, clawed back from a two-goal deficit in the second frame and notched a last-minute tally to send the contest to overtime, the equalizer coming off the stick of Evgeny Kuznetsov with the Capitals’ net empty. However, when all was said and done, Washington skated away with just a single point from the affair, with Tampa Bay picking up the 5-4 overtime victory after defenseman Victor Hedman patiently maneuvered his way to the front of the Capitals net and slipped a backhander past Washington’s Braden Holtby.
The real kick in the teeth, though? The loss came after the Capitals threw 58 – fifty-eight! – shots on goal. To put Andrei Vasilevskiy’s performance into perspective, consider that he allowed four goals against and still finished the with a .931 save percentage on the night. Somehow, he was able to celebrate with his teammates instead of collapsing into a heap after Hedman’s winner.
Vasilevskiy’s performance was arguably his best of the season, and it was undoubtedly his busiest. Though the netminder has faced more than 40 shots against on four other occasions this season, including a 48-save, one-goal-against performance against the Toronto Maple Leafs in mid-December, Wednesday marked the first time all season upwards of 50 pucks have headed his way. It also made him one of the busiest winning goalies in the past 31 seasons.
According to Hockey-Reference, there are 17 instances of a goaltender making at least 54 saves in a victory since the beginning of the 1987-88 season. With his performance, Vasilevskiy became one of seven goaltenders with a 54-save victory to their name in the past three decades, joining a group that includes everyone from current starters – Frederik Andersen and Semyon Varlamov – to some masked men who have been somewhat forgotten, such as Antero Niittymaki and Dan Ellis. Vasilevskiy’s 54-save victory doesn’t crack the 10-best single-game save totals for a winning netminder, though. It falls one stop short. Here are the 10 netminders who’ve been busier in victories over the past 30-plus years: