With his win Saturday night over the New York Rangers, Louis Domingue matched a Tampa Bay Lightning record. He has now won nine decisions in a row matching the feat set by John Grahame in the 2005-06 season and Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2017-18. What’s interesting about it is that he has done it as the back-up while the other two were the starters for the Lightning.
After the 2004-05 season was wiped out by the NHL lock out and the salary cap was implemented, the Lightning were squeezed by Stanley Cup winning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. He sought the most money he could and ended up signing with the Chicago Blackhawks. That left the Lightning with John Grahame, his back-up, as the starting goaltender for 2005-06.
Grahame’s streak started on 11/14/2005 and the last win came on 12/10/2005 with his streak being broken by a loss on 12/14 to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. One interesting bit about Grahame’s streak was that he had a game in the middle against the New Jersey Devils where he only played half of the game in relief of Sean Burke who allowed six goals in an eventual 8-2 loss. Because he came in with the Lightning trailing and they never re-took the lead, Grahame did not get a decision to break his streak.
Seven of his nine wins came at home. He allowed 20 goals in the nine games and was coming off five straight losses where he allowed four goals in four games and five in the other. Grahame followed his streak with four losses averaging 3.5 goals allowed per game. Three of his wins also came when posting below a .900 SV% including wins with an .818 SV% and .813 SV% at the end of the streak. Overall he had a .903 SV%, including the extra game against the Devils.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, like Grahame, set his streak in his first full season as the Lightning starter. He also did it early in the year, starting with his third game of the season on 10/9/2017. His last win came on 10/30/2017 and was broken by an overtime loss to the New York Rangers on 11/2.
Vasilevskiy’s games were more evenly split between home and road with five games at home and four on the road. He also beat the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings twice in that span. He allowed one less goal in his nine games than Grahame with 19 goals. But he also had a shut out and three games of only allowing one goal. He put up a .933 SV% during the streak with just two games under a .900 SV%. His worst game was the last game of the streak when he allowed five goals and had a .783 SV%. After his win streak ended, Vasilevskiy picked it back up and won four straight allowing seven goals and in three games only allowing one goal.
Now for Domingue. He’s accomplished this feat in a different, and perhaps more impressive, fashion. He’s doing it as the Lightning’s back-up goaltender. His streak started while he was filling in for an injured Vasilevskiy winning his first six games before Vasilevskiy returned. Because of the breaks in the schedule and Vasilevskiy returning to the line up, his last three games have been stretched out over nearly a month and a half. His previous three games were on 12/20/2018, 1/12/2019, and 2/2/2019. All three of those games have been on the road as well.
Overall, Domingue has won five of his nine games on the road. He has allowed 24 goals and had a .911 SV%. Domingue is certainly benefiting from the Lightning having a high powered offense as he has won three games where he allowed four goals in this span. But he’s also had two games where he only allowed a only single goal.
We’ll have to wait a little bit for Domingue to get a shot at breaking the record. Since he is the back-up, he’s not playing very often and the schedule will dictate when and where he gets a chance to sit atop of the list for this franchise record. The Lightning have a back to back this weekend on Saturday and Sunday so unless something unexpected happens, we should get a chance to see him go for the record then.