Kristers Gudlevskis made a name for himself with Latvia in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Now it looks like the 21-year-old goaltender might also be on Tampa Bay’s roster when the NHL schedule resumes, according to the Lightning’s Missy Zielinski.
They need him as an insurance policy because backup netminder Anders Lindback hasn’t been cleared to play after sustaining an ankle injury.
Gudlevskis was taken in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has split the season between the ECHL and AHL, but he stopped a stunning 55 of 57 shots against the Canadians in the Olympic quarterfinals.
“Their goaltender played awesome,” Canada’s Carey Price said after the contest, per IIHF.com. “That was one of the best goaltending performances I’ve ever seen in a long time. He played a heck of a game.”
Tampa Bay is set to play in four games over six days starting on Thursday, so if Lindback doesn’t return soon, then Gudlevskis could make his NHL debut.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
Portzline goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: