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The Tampa Bay Lightning have activated goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy off of injured reserve, according to head coach Jon Cooper. Cooper also revealed that Vasilevskiy will make his first start of the 2023-24 season against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Vasilevskiy missed the Lightning's first 20 games of the 2023-24 season while he recovered from back surgery.

In late September, the Lightning announced that Vasilevskiy underwent successful surgery to repair a lumbar disc herniation in his back. At the time, Tampa Bay expected Vasilevskiy to miss the opening two months of the season.

While Vasilevskiy has been out of the lineup, the Lightning have moved forward with a goaltender tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins. Johansson made the majority of the starts as he accumulated an 8-4-5 record to go along with a 3.41 goals-against-average and .894 save percentage. Meanwhile, the team placed Tomkins on waivers after he appeared in just three games.

Vasilevskiy has established himself as one of the NHL's elite goaltenders since breaking into the NHL during the 2014-15 season. He's racked up a 263-123-28 record and helped lead Tampa Bay to back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021. 

Vasilevskiy also won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender in 2019, while winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

During the 2022-23 campaign, Vasilevskiy put together a 34-22-4 record to go along with a 2.65 goals-against-average, .915 save percentage and four shutouts.

The Lightning currently have a 9-6-5 record (23 points) and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division.