Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy skated briefly with the team for the first time as he works his way back from back surgery, relays Kristie Ackert of the Tampa Bay Times. The netminder joined the team with about ten minutes left in practice but head coach Jon Cooper was quick to point out that this isn’t a sign that his recovery is ahead of schedule. At the time of the surgery back in late September, Vasilevskiy was expected to miss eight to ten weeks so he’s still at least a month away from returning. While many expected Tampa Bay to make a move to shore things up between the pipes, Jonas Johansson has fared rather well in the early going this season, notching a 2.56 GAA and a .925 SV% along with two shutouts in his first seven starts. If he can keep that up a bit longer, they might be able to get away without adding another goalie after all.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division:
- Also from Ackert’s column, winger Tyler Motte took part in his second straight practice as he works his way back from an upper-body injury sustained in the season opener. The 28-year-old was a late signing after Josh Archibald decided not to play this season despite inking a two-year deal with the Lightning back in July. Motte is hoping to accompany the club on their upcoming road trip that begins on Thursday in Columbus so it appears he could be back in the lineup in the near future.
- Following their victory over Colorado today, the Sabres announced (Twitter link) that they have returned goaltender Devin Cooley to AHL Rochester. The 26-year-old was brought up yesterday with Eric Comrie going on IR yesterday and Devon Levi not yet ready to return. As Levi remains on the active roster, Buffalo can send Cooley down. They’re off until Wednesday so if Levi still isn’t available then, expect Cooley to be recalled at that time.