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Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy makes his home season debut

Vasy has been out of the lineup since the preseason while recovering from back surgery.
 
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy leads his team onto the ice for warmups before Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy leads his team onto the ice for warmups before Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Dec. 1, 2023|Updated Dec. 1, 2023

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will finally be back on Amalie Arena ice tonight against Pittsburgh.

Vasilevskiy missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. In his first game back, on the road at Carolina last Friday, he made 22 saves in an 8-2 win.

“There is a ton of work (that) has gone in to get him to this spot. He has worked his tail off, and this was the date circled on the calendar months ago and we hit the target date,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said before the Hurricanes game.

Thursday’s game marks Vasilevskiy’s first on home ice since last season ended with a first-round playoff exit against Toronto in a Game 6 overtime loss on April 29.

Vasilevskiy, 29, is a two-time Stanley Cup winner and a past winner of the Vezina (league’s top goalie) and Conn Smythe (playoff MVP) trophies.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 in Tampa. Vasilevskiy missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023 in Tampa. Vasilevskiy missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in net during warm ups.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in net during warm ups. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Fans show support with signs for Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy during warm ups.
Fans show support with signs for Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy during warm ups. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguin.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Pittsburgh Penguin. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), in center, works to keep the puck out with help from defenseman Darren Raddysh (43), left wing Brandon Hagel (38) and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87), left wing Jake Guentzel (59) and right wing Bryan Rust (17).
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), in center, works to keep the puck out with help from defenseman Darren Raddysh (43), left wing Brandon Hagel (38) and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87), left wing Jake Guentzel (59) and right wing Bryan Rust (17). [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on during a stoppage in play against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on during a stoppage in play against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save in net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save in net against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
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Lightning defenseman Calvin de Haan (44), left, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) get beat as Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) scores the go-ahead goal making the sore 3-2 during the third period.
Lightning defenseman Calvin de Haan (44), left, and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) get beat as Penguins center Jeff Carter (77) scores the go-ahead goal making the sore 3-2 during the third period. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on as the Penguins celebrate their go-ahead goal making the score 3-2 during the third period.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) looks on as the Penguins celebrate their go-ahead goal making the score 3-2 during the third period. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), in center, looks from the bench after being pulled in favor of the extra attacker in the final minutes against the Penguins.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), in center, looks from the bench after being pulled in favor of the extra attacker in the final minutes against the Penguins. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Lightning Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) leaves the bench to head to the locker room along with his team after getting beat by the Penguins 4-2.
Lightning Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) leaves the bench to head to the locker room along with his team after getting beat by the Penguins 4-2. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]