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Vasilevskiy says Lightning 'got comfortable,' weren't ready for playoffs

Goalie says Tampa Bay will be hungrier following first-round sweep

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Andrei Vasilevskiy said the Tampa Bay Lightning are out to erase the pain of being swept in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after a historic regular season in 2018-19.

"We're hungrier, 100 percent," he said at the NHL Player Media Tour in Chicago on Friday. "So now the guys are pumped up and ready to show everybody that we just know what the goal is."

The 25-year-old won the Vezina Trophy voted as the NHL's top goalie after he won 18 of his final 21 starts and helped the Lightning tie the League record for wins in a season (62; Detroit Red Wings 1995-96) and win the Presidents' Trophy with 128 points. But Vasilevskiy lost four straight starts in the playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets and had a 3.83 goals-against average and an .856 save percentage.

 

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"I think at some point, we got too comfortable," he said of their regular-season success. "When everything is right, everything is comfortable, it's easy to play. I think that when we won the Presidents' Trophy, there were about 10 games left. I think we thought, 'Oh, we were good in the regular season, we'll be all right in the playoffs.' But it's a different game in the playoffs. I think we got comfortable and we just weren't ready in the playoffs.

Vasilevskiy, who signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension ($9.5 million average annual value) on July 29, said he's pleased with his and the Lightning's accomplishments during the regular season, but the early playoff exit continues to sting. 

"Lots of guys were good, but yeah, the playoffs wasn't great and I got those personal trophies," Vasilevskiy said. "I mean, it's good, it's great, right? Personal trophy and stuff, but nothing compares to the one big goal."

Video: Andrei Vasilevskiy claims the No. 1 spot on the list

A first-round pick (No. 19) in the 2012 NHL Draft, Vasilevskiy said it will take a team effort for him to win the Vezina Trophy again this season. He led the NHL with 39 wins, tied for fourth with six shutouts, and had a 2.40 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 53 games.

"All the players in the League are so good, so you know, not only the goalie, right?" Vasilevskiy said. "Other persons in front of you, they have to play well, right? So you can be a great goalie without a great team, so that's my thoughts.

"So I think all together, have to put back-to-back great seasons."

NHL.com staff writer Tracey Myers contributed to this report

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