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Lightning Round: Andrei Vasilevskiy is the one the players want when the game is on the line

The Tampa Bay Lightning netminder tops the NHLPA Poll

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2021 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHLPA released their annual players poll on Wednesday. Every year the players association asks a series of hockey-related questions. More than 500 players responded this year on everything from the most complete player (Sidney Crosby) to which city is the best to spend an off day (Las Vegas).

One of the on-ice questions was, “If you need to win one game, who is the goalie that you would want on your team?”

The answer, with 37.4% of the players polled, was Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Big Cat was far and away the most popular choice with Carey Price (13.9%) a distant second. Marc-Andre Fleury (6.7%), John Gibson (3.5%), Jacob Markstron (3.1%), Jonathan Quick (3.1%), and Juuse Saros (3.1%) were the other netminders receiving votes.

Throughout his career his regular season numbers have always been really good, after all there is a reason he has a Vezina Trophy on his shelf and is a perennial finalist for the award. It is the postseason, though, where he has earned his reputation as a Big Game Goalie. In 76 career starts he has a a 49-29 record with 49 Quality Starts (defined as a start where is save percentage for the game is higher than the league average save percentage for the season). His .924 save percentage and 2.24 goals against are spectacular.

Those numbers are fantastic, but his performances over the past two seasons is out of this world. 34-14 record with 31 Quality Starts, a 1.90 GAA and a .932 SV%. Oh yeah, and that little fact that he has posted a shutout in five straight series clinching games including two Stanley Cup Final series winners.

That’s how you earn the respect of your fellow players.

Victor Hedman had his name show up in response to the question “If you need to win one game, who is the one skater you would want on your team?” He finished third with 6.7% of the vote. He also garnered 6.9% of the vote in regards to the player other players hate playing against but would want on their team.

Nikita Kucherov racked up 6.2% of the votes in regards to the “best passer”. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each received 1.3% of the vote in regards to the “best shot”.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning power play becoming dominant at the right time [Tampa Bay Times]

They are 9-for-16 with the extra skater in their last four games. Nikita Kucherov has assisted on 6 of those goals. Power plays may not come along as often in the post season, but it’s vitally important that teams take advantage of them when they do get them. So it’s a great sign that the first unit is up to its old tricks.

Tampa Bay Lightning city-wide scavenger hunt leads fans to the playoffs [Lightning Twitter]

Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt? Especially one that has free playoff tickets as a reward.

Sorry Toronto, but Lightning are peaking at the right time [Daily Faceoff]

Old friend Mike McKenna writes that the Maple Leafs may have home ice for their potential first round match-up, but the Lightning are the ones that are rolling right now.

Crunch beat Bruins in Overtime [Syracuse Crunch]

With their 2-1 win overtime, the Crunch are getting closer to locking in their playoff seeding. Darren Raddysh scored the game-opening goal and Riley Nash scored the game-closing goal in overtime. Max Lagace pushed his personal winning streak to seven games with 28 saves.

Crunch are back in the playoffs [Raw Charge]

Out semi-weekly wrap-up of the Syracuse Crunch celebrates their return to the Calder Cup playoffs. At one point their chances looked very dim indeed. Now, they are one of the hottest teams in the league.

Nash revitalizing career with Crunch [The AHL]

It will go down as one of those deadline deals that folks in the NHL don’t remember in a couple of years, but for the Crunch, picking up Riley Nash has helped turn their season around. It’s the type of move that has personified the Tampa/Syracuse affiliation over the years. If the Crunch need something to help them win, Julien BriseBois, and Steve Yzerman before him, have made the deals happen.

‘Go have some fun’: the 2012 Norfolk team that couldn’t lose [The Athletic]

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s AHL affiliate at the time, romped their way through a 29-game winning streak and claimed the Calder Cup with a roster dotted with names familiar to Tampa Bay fans.