Andrei Vasilevskiy ties league lead for goalie points in Lightning win
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been statistically the best goaltender in the NHL this season.
He’s also been the one with the highest offensive output.
In Tampa Bay’s 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers on Thursday night, Vasilevskiy turned away 36 of the 38 shots from Florida’s onslaught. The Panthers average nearly 34 shots on goal per game, the second most in the NHL.
He also helped himself on the offensive end, though.
Florida opened the scoring in the first frame, but Alex Killorn tied it on an odd-man rush following a bad change from the Panthers. The man who set it up, though, came from the crease.
Vasilevskiy recognized the bad timing on the Panthers line change on the Tampa Bay power play and fired the puck up ice to hit Killorn in stride, who scored to tie it. Florida would take the lead in the third before Tampa Bay tied it late, and then defenseman Victor Hedman won it 54 seconds into the extra frame.
The assist, though, was the third for Vasilevskiy this season. He tied Tristan Jarry of the Penguins with the most goalie points in the league in 2021.
Four other goalies have more than one point this season; Phillip Grubauer, Mikko Koskinen, Anton Khudobin, and Kevin Lankinen.
Vasilevskiy’s offensive output isn’t terribly new; last season he led all goalies with four assists. He has 14 in his career, which is 64th all time, but seventh in active goalies and he’s only in his seventh season at 26 years old.
As a goalie, he’s the clear cut favorite for the Vezina; with a high danger save percentage of .893, the next best goalie in that category with at least 30 saves is Grubauer at .855. Igor Shesterkin has a .892, but he has just 25 games and more than 400 fewer minutes in net.
Vasilevskiy is playing potentially the best hockey of his career. In his last eight games, he’s had season high save totals in five of them.
The offensive touch is just a little something extra.
The all-time NHL leader in goalie points is Tom Barasso with 48 in 777 games. Martin Broduer is tied for second with 47, but it took him 1,266 games. Patrick Roy had 45 in 1,029.
Vasilevskiy has scored his 14 in 293 career contests. The active leader, former Lightning goaltender Mike Smith, has 19 in 632 games. Jonathan Quick also has 19 in 663. Vasilevskiy is years away from hitting that many games, and is averaging just over two points per season, so he projects to have more than them.
Barasso’s record might be a bit out of reach, but there’s no one else in the NHL who does goalie points like Vasilevskiy does.
No one is asking Vasilevskiy to be an offensive contributor, and three points is certainly not lightning the world on fire. It just seems like the best goalie in the league keeps finding ways to lead the Lightning to key victories, and they end Thursday night still tied for first place -- and a point ahead of Florida -- behind his efforts; on both sides of the ice.