Tag: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Top-20 Fantasy Hockey Goalies for the 2018-19 season

Goaltenders are here! The last of the news until we hit some other fantasy hockey related topics. For me goalies are tough because, I always take into account a goalies defense their previous year, games started and of course consistency. For example you will immediately realize I did not rank Pekka Rinne #1, because he had the best defense in the league in front of him and a top team in the conference, plus I mean the guy imploded in the playoffs, and during the regular season he is solid every year. Also, he won the Vezina and I think it is only fair that a guy who was a starter in the AHL three years ago had an unreal year and deserves #1.

Top-20 Goalies are as follows…

  1. Connor Hellebuyck, WPG
  2. Pekka Rinne, NSH
  3. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TBL
  4. Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ
  5. Jonathan Quick, LAK
  6. Braden Holtby, WSH
  7. Marc Andre-Fleury, VGK
  8. Devan Dubynk, MIN
  9. Tuukka Rask, BOS
  10. John Gibson, ANH
  11. Martin Jones, SJS
  12. Ben Bishop, DAL
  13. Frederick Anderson, TOR
  14. Matt Murray, PIT
  15. Corey Crawford, CHI
  16. Carter Hutton, BUF
  17. Mike Smith, CGY
  18. Semyon Varlamov, COL
  19. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
  20. Corey Schneider, NJD

Not even going to lie, I almost forgot about Matt Murray and Braden Hotlby, I understand Holtby had a down year in a sense and so did Murray but Holtby is coming off a Stanely Cup win, and Murray was dealing with a roller coaster of emotions with everything that was happening with him personally plus injuries. This is a tough list, I also don’t think we need to go much after the top-20 so you have a lovely surprise after this paragraph… I gave Hellebuyck #1 because cmon, the guy came in with Steve Mason in front of him, literally ran Mason out of a job and out of Winnipeg, took over the starting job all year and had unbelievable first year as a starter. I like Hellebuyck a lot and think this is only the beginning for him. Perhaps Carter Hutton should not be on that list but he took over a lot of time in St. Louis and earned a number one role in Buffalo which he will excel in greatly.

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Lightning head to Washington in desperate need for Game 3 win: 3 Keys for Tampa Bay success

The Lightning have been pumped the first two games this series, 4-2 and 6-2, nothing to be proud of when it comes to the Eastern Conference finals and being the number one team in the East. The Lightning were written off as a favorite for this series before it even began. Now, after two games the Lightning have a chance to be swept and eliminated in their second Eastern Conference final in the last four years. The positive for Tampa is that they bounced back greatly from missing the playoffs last year to this now. Negative though they were favorites to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of the year along with the Predators. Now fast forward to being down 2-0 the Capitals are now favorites to win it all.

What has been the Lightning’s biggest reason for their poor start though? A few things. Andrei Vasalevskiy has been subpar at best, getting yanked in the first game to allowing six goals in the second game. Kucherov has been almost non-existent besides the assist to Stamkos on the power play in game one and two. Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde have been nowhere to be found, their top performers and depth guys went from scoring to now nothing. Their defense has been pretty bad, to say the least. Allowing 32 shots on goal the first game to 37 the second game, and allowing a combined 10 goals in two games is not great. Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh have not been able to figure out a balance to the Capitals line up and the Capitals are exposing the Lightning’s defense when both Hedman and McDonagh are not on the ice.

BUT, there is still room for improvement on the Lighting’s side. Three keys to the Lightning’s success…

3 Keys to the Lightning’ success tonight…

(1) Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi need to step up and be more consistent. Coming from New York they know this Capitals team very well. They should be more than capable of stopping these guys and knowing what they are going to do. We will need to see these two really take charge and lead the way tonight. As Hedman is the guy, McDonagh and Girardi know the Capitals, use their experience and relay it to the rest of the team.

(2) Depth guys. Need to show up. Tyler Johnson, Alex Killron, JT Miller, Yanni Gourde, Brayden Point need to come up big this game. Not meaning only on the scoreboard but make it hard on the Capitals forwards and defenseman. A defense with Michael Kempny, Brooks Orpik, and Christian Djoos should not be this hard to score or even get some pressure in the offensive zone. It is not all about scoring, but it is about showing up and doing something each shift. Some of these guys have not even been noticeable on the ice meanwhile guys like Alex Chiasson are causing havoc out there even though he is not scoring every goal. Make it difficult, cause some havoc and put some pressure on the Capitals defenseman and forwards.

(3) Andrei Vasilevskiy needs to make a save or 30. Through 2 games he has allowed 9 goals, has been pulled once and has not looked like the Vezina goalie he was nominated to be. They are going to need Vasilevskiy to steal a game here tonight. In Washington, up 2-0 the crowd will be going nuts, and it will not be easy for the Lighting forwards to get much going, therefore Vasilevskiy needs to come up big tonight.

Aside from the first three keys, the Lightning needs to stop the Capitals from quick starts and start winning puck races. They will most certainly need Vasilevskiy to play one of the best games of his career but it is a team effort and they need to help the goaltender out back there. By doing so, they need to win some puck battles. The Lightning have lost every puck race it seems like and the Capitals have scored in the first minute two games now! Stop the Capitals from scoring first, pop the first one, eliminate the Capitals power play chances, win puck races and we may see a different outcome.

A look at what Vegas is saying…

Clearly, Washington is the favorite here, after winning the first two and heading home they are clearly the favorite. The opening line right now is Tampa Bay+100 and Washington -120, the over/under is 6 goals and the other sites are also saying for Tampa to be around +100 to +105, while Washington is -120 to -115 across the board. Clearly, the books are saying Washington here, but the odd thing is based on some bets thus far it has been 52 percent Tampa and 71 percent Washington, as of now. The line is standing at Washington -120 and Tampa +100. As the day goes on the line can change based on the number of bets coming in for each team. Therefore monitor it and I will check back on the line later. To find out the line, follow me on twitter @santageetee

Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning: Eastern Conference Finals

This is a matchup we have seen in the playoffs only two times, 2002 and 2011, the Lightning holds the series advantage 6-2. In 2002 they beat Washington in the first round 4-2, in 2011 they beat Washington 4-0 in the second round. The good thing about hockey is as much as those numbers play a factor, they essentially mean nothing. In 2002 no active player is still on either team to this day and in 2011, the only two players who remain on the Lightning roster still to this day are Stamkos and Hedman, I am going to have to guess they barely remember that series.

Who has the edge here though this year? Let’s break down each aspect of the game.

Offense…

Tampa Bay: The Lightning have a very deep top nine, one of the best in the league and every player on this roster is capable of scoring and chipping in some way. Their leading scorer is Nikita Kucherov with 12 points, next up is Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos with 10. Ondrej Palat(8), JT Miller(7), Alex Killron(6), Yanni Gourde(6), Tyler Johnson(5). They have a list of players who can score every night, as we saw with Boston. When the lines look a little like, Kucherov-Stamkos-Miller, Point-Palat-Johnson and still have Killron, Gourde on the next two it is going to be a handful for the Capitals.

Washington: As we all know, the Capitals run through two guys a lot, Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, their two top scorers and guys that have been their fuel all playoffs. Their leading scorer is Ovechkin with 15 points and Kuzy with 14, despite Backstrom being out one game, game six he also is a point per game player with 13 points in 11 games. Throw in an all-around forward in TJ Oshie(8) and a defensive forward in Lars Eller(7) the Capitals will rely heavily on these guys like Oshie and Eller to chip in a bit more and take some pressure off Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. Welcoming back Tom Wilson will give them that edge as well, with the Lightning, have Coburn, Hedman, Callahan as their guys who like to throw the weight around, Wilson will match any Lightning and bring that physical presence each day.

Winner: Lightning on pure depth and versatility. Any line can chip and every line has a ton of speed plus their fourth line has been causing havoc every shift they are out there. A good fourth line makes a championship team.

Defense…

Tampa Bay: With Norris trophy winner Victor Hedman leading the backend, with the help of Anton Stralman, Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi. The Lightning have a very deep, versatile defense as well. In McDonagh you can get both offense and defense(offensive defenseman), Girardi you know a solid 16+ minutes a game playing a fairly solid defensive game and Stralman playing a very solid 18+ minutes shut down style. With Sergachev and Hedman leading the rush on the backend, they have a ton of tools who can get do it all.

Washington: John Carlson through and through has been the most underrated defenseman this whole season, logging major minutes this postseason, producing 11 points, 3 goals and 8 assists in 12 games behind all defenseman by one point for the defenseman lead in the playoffs. With Matt Niskanen and Dimitry Orlov who have played a very solid shut down game with the Penguins and their top guys and the old veteran-like Brooks Orpik doing the same thing as Girardi in a sense. With two very inexperienced and young defenseman in Christian Djoos and Michale Kempny, the Capitals have seen these two young men, grow exceptionally well this playoff run and not make any MAJOR mistakes. A simple game that has been working well for them.

Winner: Lightning, too much depth and tools on that backend that supplement their offense so well.

Goaltending…

Tampa Bay: Andrei Vasalivskiy is up for a Vezina trophy and has been very solid and consistent this year for the Lightning. Someone who has really risen to the ranks of a starting role and has given the Lightning the confidence they need, making the saves he needs to when he needs to. Just in the Boston series, he allowed 12 goals in 5 games and 5 of those goals came in game one. He ranks third among active goalies in save percentage(.927) and third in goals against 2.20. This is a tough one because Vasilevskiy has had his team played very well in front of him, but has still been a part of their success in a big way.

Washington: Braden Holtby once a Vezina winner, but after one of his worst years as a starter, coming into the playoffs the Capitals went with Phillip Grubauer after that failed and the Capitals lost their first two games. They gave the torch back to Holtby who has been lights out for them with an 8-2 record, one coming in overtime in game two. Ranking second in goals against with a 2.04 and fourth in save percentage(.926). Holtby has allowed 23 goals compared to Vasilevskiy’s 22 this postseason and their numbers are very similar.

Winner: Capitals, experience-wise, I think we see Holtby elevate his game and play big on this stage that he has never been to before. They are very similar in numbers as far GAA, SV % and goals allowed but I think Holtby is going to be again the big difference maker for the Capitals and rise to the big stage when they need him most.

Series winner: I see the Lightning taking this series in 7, the home ice will play a major role and their offense is just too much to stop right now. With Point, Palat and Gourde all having great series thus far, along with a solid fourth line and Stamkos and Kucherov being relatively quiet that second round, the Lightning’s top guys will come to play and give them the edge here.

Tampa Bay Lightning: G Andrei Vasilevskiy ready for starting job?

After touching on the topic of the Dallas Stars and their new additions, a quick topic of discussion came to mind. Now due to the fact Dallas has locked up Ben Bishop, and the Lightning seems to trust Andrei Vasilevskiy as their #1 number goaltender, is the 22-year-old Russian ready to take on the workload as a full-time NHL goalie…?

Andrei-Vasilevskiy
G Andrei Vasilevskiy ready for #1 role in TB.

Vasilevskiy emerged on the scene during the 2015-2016 Tampa Bay Lightning playoff run, Bishop went down with an injury late in the playoffs, and thus Vasilevskiy was established. Vasilevskiy played the entire PIT vs TBL series during the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run two years ago and showed some incredible signs of becoming the Lightnings possible number one guy. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 season, the big story was how would the Vasilevskiy- Bishop duo pan out in Tampa Bay, would Vasilevskiy eventually become the starter? Well fast forward several months later and that was the case. Vasilevskiy became the full-time guy and Bishop was sent off to L.A. to fill in until Jonathan Quick was back.

With the goalie tandem split up and controversy settled, Bishop in Dallas and Vasilevskiy the starter in Tampa Bay, there is no more what if questions, the answers have been answered. BUT the question now is, can Andrei Vasilevskiy handle a full-time goaltending job?

I don’t know about you but I’m not too sold on this whole Vasilevskiy is capable of being a full-time starter, he’ll excel well and be solid for the Lightning helping them push their way back into the playoffs. After the Lightning’s slow start, Steven Stamkos went down with an injury and they could just not seem to edge out the Leafs and other divisional teams for a playoff spot, the once fierce full Lightning, became a nothing in April. Missing the playoffs for the first time in three years. That’s a lot of pressure for a 22-year-old goalie, to be expected to be the backbone of the Lightning and help this team back into the playoffs next season. Vasilevskiy did not post exceptional numbers last year either, understanding the Lightning had a bit of a down year but still the 6’3 goaltender, started in 47 games(57% of games played), posted 23 wins, 17 losses, a 2.61 GAA(goals against average) and a .917 save percentage(SV%). Barring the Lightning do not have the best defense in the NHL, faced some tough times last year but other than those numbers Vasilevskiy has played in a combined 34 games in the previous two seasons. Hopefully, the Dan Girardi signing will allow some stability and physicality on the backend for the Lightning, along with Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, and lofty Andrej Sustr, the Lightning are not gifted with the best defense per se. I don’t know about you but I’m not sold on the Vasilevskiy will bring the Lightning back to the playoffs next year, agree to disagree I just don’t see it.

 

 

 

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G Peter Budaj looks to become #1 goaltender in Tampa Bay.

Prediction: Vasilevskiy bombs out and Peter Budaj takes the full-time job. Calling it now.
We all saw how well Peter Budaj handled the full-time job last year when Jonathan Quick went down with an injury and being the Lightning have a better core up front, Budaj will get that assistance on the offensive side of things and if he can produce as he did last year, gets his fair share of starts during the year, Budaj will turn a lot of heads in Tampa Bay and take the starting job. 51 games started in L.A. last season, Budaj posted 27 wins, 20 losses, a 2.12 GAA, .917 SV% and 7 shutouts. Budaj was a big story last season when he emerged as the starter in L.A. and many thought he would not be able to do it, the 34-year-old veteran goaltender, held up quite well for L.A.