Your best players have to be….your best animals?
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s nickname is the Big Cat. At home games, a roar is played after one of Vasy’s signature good saves. Victor Hedman has been called a beast, and it’s been said that he is "a horse back there." Coach Cooper has called him both.
This Tampa Bay Lightning animal menagerie has been Best-In-Show for the past two years. The king of the jungle has lived up to his name. He and the horse have the statistics to prove it.
They have been breaking NHL, franchise, and personal records.
- Vasilevskiy (and the Lightning) is 15-0 after registering a playoff loss.
- Vasilevskiy reached 50 playoff wins in only 83 games. He’s seventh in NHL history and is right above Hall-of-Famer Marty Brodeur.
- Vasilevskiy is one of only 3 goaltenders (Clint Benedict, Bernie Parent) to have multiple Stanley Cup clinching shutouts. Vasy has five consecutive ones.
- Hedman had his first 4-point playoff game in game two of this Toronto series, which is also a first for the franchise.
- Hedman has the most career playoff points of all active defensemen.
- Hedman has 7 playoff games with 3 or more points per game, which is tenth in NHL history.
- Hedman now has 92 career playoff points, which is tied for sixteenth-most by a defenseman in NHL history.
- Hedman is only one of three (with Kris Letang and Brent Burns) active defensemen to score 20 playoff goals.
The Lightning does not win two Stanley Cups without these two elite players. That is why they each won the Conn Smythe trophy for the Most Valuable Player in back-to-back years.
At the same time, these two "animals" do not reach their status without the rest of the Tampa Bay animal kingdom team.
These statistics are mentioned regularly in writing and broadcast, but it is worth repeating (three-peating?) because we are witnessing history and there has been no better time to be part of the Amalie Animal Fair with hopes for a repeat Ark parade!