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Lightning returns top goalie prospect Vasilevskiy to AHL

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Mike Stobe

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has been returned to AHL Syracuse. The 20-year-old was summoned on an emergency basis to fill in for starting netminder Ben Bishop (lower body), so this presumably means that Bishop will be available for Saturday’s contest against Carolina.

Vasilevskiy’s stint with Tampa Bay might have been brief, but it was memorable. He stopped 23 of 24 shots against Philadelphia on Dec. 16 to become the third Lightning goalie to ever win his NHL debut. Then he topped that on Saturday by turning aside 45 of 47 shots in a hard-luck loss to the New York Islanders.

“I don’t know who got the stars, but he should have been all three,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after the contest. “He was outstanding.”

Vasilevskiy faced the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins in his next start and helped the Lightning earn a 4-3 victory.

Tampa Bay took him with the 19th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and he continues to be regarded as one of the league’s top goaltending prospects. With that in mind, this is likely not the last time you’ll hear about him.

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