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Round 2
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Stanley Cup Final

Martin St. Louis returns to practice for Lightning

Tuesday, 12.20.2011 / 8:24 PM / News

NHL.com

The Tampa Bay Lightning got some good news Tuesday when forward Martin St. Louis returned to practice -- less than two weeks after being hit near the left eye by a puck.

St. Louis traveled to San Jose with the team Tuesday morning and later joined his teammates on the ice at HP Pavilion. He wore a full cage to protect his face during drills.

It has not been decided whether he will be able to play against San Jose on Wednesday or against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Friday.

St. Louis was injured during a morning skate on Dec. 8 at Madison Square Garden in New York when teammate Dominic Moore accidently fired a backhand that went wide of the net and struck St. Louis. He left the ice bleeding from the area around his eye -- forcing him to miss what would have been his 500th consecutive regular season-game.

St. Louis was hospitalized with a broken nose and a hairline fracture of his orbital bone. His eye was swollen shut and a blood clot developed, forcing him to abstain from physical activity until the clot dissipated.

He was cleared for activity on Friday but reported slight blurriness in his left eye and remained in Tampa when the Lightning flew to Columbus, Ohio, for Saturday's game against the Blue Jackets, a 3-2 victory.

St. Louis, 36, has nine goals and 22 points in 27 games this season. In 881 career games, he has 307 goals and 800 points. He was a Second-Team All-Star in 2010-11 and won both the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 2003-04 while helping to lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round