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At the Rink blog

Niemi expected back in crease against Lightning

Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 11:17 AM

By Lonnie Herman - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Niemi expected back in crease against Lightning

TAMPA -- In preparation for an afternoon puck-drop, the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning opted against morning skates Saturday.

Antti Niemi is expected to start in goal for the Sharks after backup Alex Stalock shut out the Florida Panthers Thursday.

Forward Logan Couture skated with San Jose on Friday, his first time on the ice since undergoing hand surgery Wednesday. He's expected to miss at least two more weeks.

The Lightning also had a key injured player on the ice this week as Steven Stamkos participated in a full team skate on Thursday, his first since breaking his right tibia more than two months ago. Thursday also saw Tampa Bay assign defenseman Andrej Sustr to the American Hockey League. The move was necessitated by the return of injured veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who played Thursday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Here are the projected lineups for the Sharks and Lightning:

SAN JOSE

Joe Pavelski - Joe Thornton - Brent Burns

Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Tommy Wingels

Bracken Kearns - Andrew Desjardins - Tyler Kennedy

Eriah Hayes - John McCarthy - James Sheppard

Matt Irwin - Dan Boyle

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Jason Demers

Brad Stuart - Justin Braun

Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

Scratched: Mike Brown, Matt Tennyson

Injured: Scott Hannan (upper body), Tomas Hertl (knee surgery), Logan Couture (hand surgery), Adam Burish (back surgery), Raffi Torres (knee surgery), Marty Havlat (lower body)

LIGHTNING

Martin St. Louis - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

J.T. Brown - Valtteri Filppula - Alex Killorn

Ryan Malone - Nate Thompson - Nikita Kucherov

Teddy Purcell - Tom Pyatt

Eric Brewer - Radko Gudas

Sami Salo - Victor Hedman

Matthew Carle - Jean-Philippe Cote

Mark Barberio

Ben Bishop

Anders Lindback

Scratched: B.J. Crombeen,

Injured: Keith Aulie (hand), Steven Stamkos (leg)

Quote of the Day

The groove of being behind a bench is going to be interesting at first, but thank God we have a few exhibition games to get rid of those cobwebs. Overall the excitement of it all and the freshness and coming back refreshed, all those things are going to be assets. If [the players] come ready to give their best effort in practice and games, good things are going to happen. I'm always looking for results. It's not always on the scoreboard. It's winning and building something.

— Bryan Trottier on making his return to coaching as an assistant with the Sabres