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Lightning eye Vasilevskiy's return on road trip

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Published in Hockey
Wednesday, 22 November 2023 09:34

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper says there is "a really good chance" that star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will return from back surgery during a three-game road trip that starts Friday night.

Cooper made the announcement after Wednesday's morning skate, hours before a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Vasilevskiy, who will miss his 20th game Wednesday night, underwent a microdiscectomy to address a lumbar disk herniation eight weeks ago.

The Lightning play at Carolina on Friday before games Monday in Colorado and Tuesday in Arizona.

A two-time Stanley Cup winner, Vasilevskiy won the Vezina Trophy in 2019 as the NHL's top goalie and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2021 as playoff MVP.

Vasilevskiy first experienced a problem with his back in August and received an injection. Treatment and a second injection failed to resolve the problem after Vasilevskiy experienced the issue again when he practiced for the first time in training camp.

Journeyman Jonas Johansson has filled in as the Tampa Bay starter and entered Wednesday with an 8-4-4 record and a 3.44 goals-against average in 16 games.

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