Andrei Vasilevskiy might not be human.
Tampa Bay’s elite starting netminder made his return to the cage Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs after missing the past 12 games. The 24-year-old had been out since Nov. 10 with a left foot fracture.
“He’s been our MVP for a long time here on this team,” said captain Steven Stamkos prior to the contest.
Vasilievsky lived up to the praise in his return, stopping 48 of 49 shots to lead the Lightning to a 4-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. It was the fourth straight win for the Lightning.
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) December 14, 2018
Vasilievsky’s 48 saves against Toronto are the most saves he’s made in his 169-game NHL career to date. He also ties the Lightning record for saves in a game with Ben Bishop, who made 48 against the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 19, 2014.
Vasilievsky’s best save of the night may have come on forward Patrick Marleau in the third period. After stretching out to rob the veteran with his glove, Vasilevskiy tracked the rebound with his right leg and used the heel of the skate to prevent the puck from crossing the goal line:
Andrei Vasilevskiy makes an unreal save on Patrick Marleau pic.twitter.com/iYNEYten8Q
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) December 14, 2018
With the victory, Vasilievsky advances to 10-3-1 on the season with a .927 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.
Pretty impressive to have one of the best games of your career against one of the best offenses in the league in your first game back after missing a month with a fractured foot.