Vasilevskiy was announced as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy on Saturday. This is Vasilevskiy's second straight nomination as a finalist for the Vezina. The 24-year-old Russian was stellar in 2018-19, compiling a 39-10-4 record while posting a superb 2.40 GAA and .925 save percentage in 53 appearances. Vasilevskiy should be the first netminder taken off the board in all formats during fantasy drafts next season.
Vasilevskiy dealt with a minor lower-body injury during Tampa's abbreviated postseason, but he's tentatively expected to play in the World Championship, Joe Smith of The Athletic reports. Despite the Bolts tying an NHL record with 62 regular-season wins, Vasilevskiy and Co. were swept by the Blue Jackets in the conference quarterfinals. The Russian posted an awful 3.82 GAA and .856 save percentage versus Columbus, but he's still very much in the running for the Vezina Trophy since that is based on regular-season success. Vasi went 39-10-4 (six shutouts) to complement a 2.40 GAA and .920 save percentage over 53 regular-season contests. He'll easily be one of the first goaltenders off draft boards ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
Vasilevskiy stopped 18 of 22 shots in Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Blue Jackets in Game 4 of their first-round series. Columbus piled on three empty-net goals after Vasilevskiy was pulled late in the third period in a desperate attempt to avoid elimination. The netminder didn't play badly, but as they had been most of the series, the Bolts' skaters were a step slow to the puck, giving the Jackets plenty of extra possession time. Vasilevskiy still has a possible Vezina Trophy to look forward to, but this was still a very disappointing end to what had been until now a brilliant campaign.
Vasilevskiy will be in goal for Game 4 versus Columbus on the road Tuesday, Caley Chelios of the Lightning's official site reports. Vasilevskiy struggled in Games 1 and 2, but managed to put together a decent Game 3 in which he allowed just two goals on 29 shots (.931 save percentage). The Russian netminder will need to be at his absolute best the rest of the way if the Bolts are going to have any chance of becoming the fifth NHL team to climb back following a 3-0 series deficit.
Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 29 shots in Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Blue Jackets in Game 3 of their first-round series. The Jackets' final goal was scored into an empty net. Vasilevskiy actually played well in this one, making some huge saves with the Bolts down 2-0 in the second period to prevent a rout, but he didn't get enough help to turn the series around. Tampa Bay now finds itself facing elimination Tuesday in Columbus, and Vasilevskiy may need to find a way to steal it single-handedly to avoid the sweep.
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