Lightning goalie Vasilevskiy returning to face Toronto

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is returning after missing 14 games with a fractured left foot to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in a matchup between the NHL’s top two teams.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper says last season’s Vezina Trophy finalist will start Thursday night against Toronto.

Vasilevskiy went 9-3-1 with a 2.30 goals-against-average before the injury in mid-November. Backup goalie Louis Domingue has played well during Vasilevskiy’s absence, helping Tampa Bay enter Thursday on a seven-game winning streak.

Lightning star Steven Stamkos says Vasilevskiy has been the team’s MVP for a long time. He adds that it’s been tough for Vasilevskiy to watch and not play, but the Lightning can’t let down now that he’s back. Stamkos adds: “We want to maintain the play that we’ve had.”