Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to improve with age, experience

TAMPA — Andrei Vasilevskiy likes to stay busy. The Lightning goaltender says he’s most comfortable when he’s seeing a lot of pucks headed his way. It allows him to get into a rhythm and make the dynamic, game-changing saves fans have come to expect from him.

The bigger challenge for Vasilevskiy is when he doesn’t get much work, which has happened to him early in games several times this season. Then in the third period, the opponent goes on an offensive surge and Vasilevskiy suddenly finds himself under siege.

Fortunately for the Lightning, that’s when Vasilevskiy has been at his best.

As a result, he might be off to the best start of his young but accomplished career. He already has a Vezina Trophy and Stanley Cup to his credit at the age of 26. But early in his fifth full NHL season, Vasilevskiy is showing he’s nowhere near the peak of his potential.

“It helps having the best goalie in the world,” defenseman Victor Hedman said. “He’s a competitor, and he’s a big reason why we are the team that we are. We have him back there making some saves that shouldn’t be saved, and he makes it look easy, so it obviously helps big time. He’s grown so much since he got into the league. He’s always had the talent, but now he’s just so consistent.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save during the third period of the…

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