‘A good feeling’: Andrei Vasilevskiy returns to ice for first time after back surgery

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to the ice with his teammates for the first time since he had back surgery in late September.

It was a surprise to some of them, but not all of them.

“It was actually a surprise to see me and just overall to practice with the boys. It feels amazing. Obviously, it’s very hard to skate by yourself, just to sit in the locker room while all the guys are on the ice,” said Vasilevskiy.

Lightning’s star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy out 2 months after back surgery

Vasilvskey is expected to be back competing against opponents in games between the end of November and the first week of December. Eight to 10 weeks from his surgery.

“Obviously, finally, we were able to get that thing fixed (back), and I hope both of my legs are even now, and my back is even, so we’ll see in a few weeks,” he joked.

“When it comes to Vas (Vasilevskiy), he’s the best in the world,” said Lightning forward Nicholas Paul.

“He’s the best at what he does – to have him in the back of the net is a good feeling, and just knowing we picked up so many goalies to Joe Joe (Jonas Johansson) and Tom (Matt Tomkins), I can’t say enough good things about them but to have Vas back is definitely big for us,” said Paul.

Other notable injuries include defenseman Erik Cernak, who suffered an undisclosed injury on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He was not at practice on Tuesday.

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