Yaroslav Askarov wasted little time impressing in the 2022 Prospect Showcase opener for the Nashville Predators as he led the way in a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects on Friday.
The four-team showcase began today for the Nashville Predators prospects by taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning prospects, and one of the headliners of the matchup was no doubt Yaroslav Askarov.
We can all rejoice that Nashville Predators hockey has returned. This actually ended up being a very entertaining game despite the final score suggesting it was lopsided. The score was hanging in the balance in the third period.
Nashville Predators Prospects Open with Win Behind Askarov
It’s no secret that Askarov is widely regarded as the top goalie prospect in the world, and he’s finally going to get a plethora of work between the pipes in North America this year for the AHL Milwaukee Admirals.
Askarov showed impressive agility and movement against the Lightning prospects while carrying a shutout into the third period. He got goal support from Egor Afanasyev and Marc Del Gaizo.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that Askarov’s teammates in front of him largely played disciplined and structured defense in front of them, despite committing more penalties than you would like to see.
Askarov was there to squash the first three Tampa Bay power play chances, and a fourth chance and fifth chance came early in the third period that resulted in a short 5-on-3 opportunity with the score still 2-0 in favor of the Predators.
Askarov’s shutout was lost on the 5-on-3 chance for the Lightning, and it really felt like that was the only way the Lightning were beating him today. He was in great position for almost the entire game.
Askarov Finishes Strong, Preserves the Win
Just like the regular season Predators last year, spending too much time on the penalty kill made the third period challenging. The Predators would settle down to widen the lead and give Askarov more goal support with a beautiful goal from Jack Matier.
Askarov would be called upon for a few more tricky saves to preserve the win. The Lightning definitely turned up the heat in the final frame, and Askarov had to be his sharpest to close it out.
Every showcase game regardless of score will feature a shootout. Askarov put on an absolute clinic here going 5-for-5 and flashing the pad with outstanding flexibility to close out what was a great way to open up the Prospect Showcase for the Nashville Predators.
With the exception of one goal he probably wishes he had back, Askarov looked the part to open the Prospect Showcase in Raleigh. The Nashville Predators prospects would go on to win 5-2.
If this is a small sample of what we’re in store for in his debut season in North America with the Milwaukee Admirals, then buckle up everyone. It’s going to be fun to watch.