Lightning SCF Roundtable: Who steps up, Point’s return, series and Conn Smythe predictions

Feb Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Feb Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Is Andrei Vasilevskiy the Lightning’s greatest advantage over Colorado?

Stephen Parrino: This season’s playoff run feels like it’s had the best opposing offensive talent since the bubble in 2020. Toronto had multiple gifted shooters and was the second highest scoring offense in the league, Florida was the highest scoring offense, and New York had me initially worried after it looked like Kreider, Zibanejad, and Vatrano were going to be able to exploit Vasy high blocker side. Three series later and the worries proven wrong and Vasy is rocking a 0.928 save percentage. Now, with the third highest scoring offense on deck I have full belief in Vasilevskiy to continue his stellar performance.

When you look at Colorado, they should get Kuemper back from injury after Francouz played the entirety of the Western Conference Final, but it’s hard to imagine either come anywhere close to matching Vasy. If we can match Colorado on offense and defense, our goaltending advantage should give us a sizeable advantage in the series, but matching up with Colorado’s forwards is easier said than done.

Noah Wilson: I think Vasilevsky will be Tampa’s greatest advantage. While Kuemper has been great for the last couple months, nobody can compare to Vasilevskiy. If it wasn’t for Vasilevskiy, Tampa would’ve had a much harder time getting to the finals.

Henry Yoho: Without a doubt. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the greatest equalizer in the NHL. There’s some uncertainty about who will be in net for Colorado coming into the series. I believe that if you are not sure who’s going to be in net, you are already behind. Colorado may have the deepest and best team the Lightning have gone up against in the past three years, but the best goaltender they will have faced was in the last round. For me, whoever has the better goaltender or has their goaltender perform better, pretty much always wins.