The Tampa Bay Lightning were happy to open the preseason Tuesday with a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators. But the real highlight was the successful North American debut of goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The 19th pick of the 2012 NHL Draft will play his first season in North America in 2014-15, most likely as the starter with the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch.
Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of 30 shots in the victory, including 12 in the third period as the Lightning rallied from a 2-1 deficit.
"First maybe five, 10 minutes, I feel not good because I [was] nervous," Vasilevskiy told the team website. "For the first couple shots, I catch and block and after that time I feel good during whole game."
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound goaltender is No. 7 on the NHL.com Top 60 prospect ranking.
"You can see the potential in that kid," Lightning coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times. "He handled it well. He kept us in it. … He didn't lose composure when we were behind in the third period and he won us the game. That's what you want in a goaltender. I thought it was exceptional."