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Tampa Bay Lightning notes: Malone returns from injury

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Published:   |   Updated: March 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM
TAMPA -

By now LW Ryan Malone is used to the drill, sitting out games due to injury, trying not to push himself too fast to get back in the lineup.

So after being pushed hard on the ice the past few days, Malone is set to return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup tonight against Winnipeg after missing 13 games with an unspecified lower body injury.

“It feels good (to get back),’’ Malone said. “I think we just kind of took our time going about the rehab properly, I think (medical trainers) Mike (Poirier) and Mully (Tom Mulligan) did a great job with everybody, so it feels good and I’m excited to get back and play every game.’’

Malone was injured during a pregame soccer warm-up prior to the Feb. 10 game at the New York Rangers. It’s something Malone has become accustomed to, never playing more than 70 games in a full season since coming to Tampa Bay prior to 2008-09. He has missed time with a myriad of injuries.

“Yeah, I’m kind of used to it, but that’s just the way it goes, but I think we did everything properly to get back to where I am now to feel good,’’ Malone said. “You don’t want to come back too early for any reason, so it’s the playoff push already? The last 25 games.”

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said they will welcome Malone back with open arms but may reel in some of his ice time in a lesser role for the time being.

“He hasn’t played in a long time so I have to make sure I’m smart and give him the minutes he can manage,’’ Boucher said. “It’s not about giving him tons of minutes hoping he can do the job, it’s about giving him the minutes he can manage. Obviously, he’s a power play and penalty kill guy, plays on the top two lines, but I’ll have to hold it back a little bit so he can look good when he is on the ice.’’

Injured G Mathieu Garon has yet to skate since suffering an unspecified lower body injury during the second period at Pittsburgh on Monday.

“He’s still day-to-day, but I can’t tell you anymore because I don’t know any more,’’ Boucher said. “

General manager Steve Yzerman said he would be speaking to the team’s medical trainers later today to determine when Garon would be back, which could be as soon as Friday.

Terry Crisp, the first head coach in Lightning history, will be on hand for tonight’s game as part of the team’s 20th anniversary celebration. Crisp, who serves as the television analyst for Nashville Predators broadcasts, spent time today talking with Tampa Bay G Anders Lindback who spent his first two years in the NHL with Nashville. … With Malone’s pending return, Adam Hall is expected to be a healthy scratch. … The Lightning are scheduled to practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon at 11:30 a.m. Friday. … RW Marty St. Louis carries a four-game scoring streak, registering two goals and four assists in that span. … Boucher said C Vinny Lecavalier has been nursing a foot injury, sustained when he was struck by a Sami Salo shot late in the game against the Rangers on Feb. 2, but is beginning to feel better. Lecavalier, who has two goals and nine points since the injury after starting the season with four goals and 11 points in the first seven games, had his first multipoint game since Feb. 1 on Tuesday.


eerlendsson@tampatrib.com

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