Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy shines in return to Lightning (w/video)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Coach Jon Cooper said the Lightning initially didn't know it would get G Andrei Vasilevskiy back before December.

So when Vasilevskiy, 21, sidelined the first month after early September surgery to remove a blood clot, made his season debut on the first day of November, Cooper called it a "big boost."

Vasilevskiy didn't disappoint, stopping 32 of 35 shots in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Hurricanes.

Vasilevskiy said he felt the same as he did in two sharp rehab starts last week for AHL Syracuse — both wins — before Sunday's callup. Two of the goals he gave up were in the final five minutes, one with the extra attacker and 0.1 seconds left.

"I think he was unreal. He had some huge saves," LW Ondrej Palat said of Vasilevskiy. "Too bad the last one counts. But I think he had a hell of a game."

G Kristers Gudlevskis was reassigned to Syracuse.

FAMILY AFFAIR: The team also called up LW Tye McGinn from Syracuse, replacing C Jonathan Marchessault, who was sent back. In McGinn, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward, Tampa Bay hoped to get some of the grit and bite it has missed with C Cedric Paquette (left ankle) sidelined.

McGinn logged 8:58 of ice time.

"(McGinn) just goes to all those areas that a lot of players don't seem to go anymore, as freely as they once did," Cooper said. "He plays hard, he hits, he's always antagonizing someone or something."

The callup had fortuitous timing for McGinn, who got to play against his younger brother Brock, 21, a Carolina rookie wing, for the first time. Their oldest brother, Jamie, 27 plays for the Sabres, which Tampa Bay faces Thursday in Buffalo. This is the first time all three brothers are in the NHL at the same time, though McGinn had played in 87 previous games with the Flyers, Sharks and Coyotes. "I was always itching to get back here as soon as I could," McGinn said.

MEDICAL MATTERS: While Paquette and LW Jonathan Drouin (lower body) were scratched again, Cooper is hopeful both will return by the time the four-game road trip ends Saturday.

Cooper said Paquette and Drouin are "doubtful to questionable" for Tuesday's game in Detroit. It appears Paquette is closer to returning. He has been sidelined since his left ankle injury — sustained while blocking a shot during a preseason game Sept. 25 — got worse Oct. 24 against Chicago.

But Paquette skated Sunday for the first time, saying he felt "way better."

Drouin has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, which he calls a "tweak." He isn't sure when he'll be back.

NUTS AND BOLTS: D Matt Carle, a healthy scratch Saturday, was back in the lineup Sunday, with D Nikita Nesterov scratched. C Vladislav Namestnikov left the game early in the second period after taking a dangerous scoring chance from Riley Nash off the left leg. But Namestnikov returned later in the period. Brown scored a goal miles away from where his father, Ted, starred as a running back at N.C. State. "It's nice, being from around the area," Brown said. "But at the end of the day, I'll take it anywhere in any city."

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