TAMPA — "He makes guys like us look good," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper joked when asked about goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I can’t believe how he shuts the door in the biggest games of his career," Cooper added after game five. "He’s a luxury for us."
Vasilevskiy earned the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, by posting five shutouts. Four of those were in series-clinching games.
"It’s not about me. It’s about our team," the 26-year-old said. "To win one up, it’s unbelievably hard. To win back-to-back… it takes a team like ours. I’m proud to play in front of them. Actually, not in front of them. Behind them."
Vasilevskiy is quick to share all of his praise with his teammates. He said he wasn't expecting to hear his name called when the Smythe Trophy was awarded.
"When they said my name, I didn’t even hear it. [My teammates] said 'Go get it.' I was like 'What?' They’re like 'The Conn Smythe.'"
"He’s the best," forward Nikita Kucherov said.
Pat Maroon, who won his third straight Cup, also got in line to applaud his goalie.
"Very proud of Vasy. He deserves it. And that’s why he’s the best goalie in the league."
Vasilevkiy has led the NHL in wins four years in a row, but his lone Vezina Trophy- given to the league's best goalie- came in 2019. He's the first goalie to win the Conn Smythe since the Kings Jonathan Quick in 2012.