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As Road Trip Starts In Denver, Niitty Expected To Start Against Avs

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning got to Denver at about 4:30 p.m. local time yesterday. There is still some snow on the ground left from the big storm that hit here earlier in the week, but other than that it has been sunny and nice. The team is sharing the hotel with two other teams in Denver as both the Team USA and Team Canada women's hockey teams are also staying at the hotel. The two will play an exhibition game at Denver University tomorrow and will be attending the game at the Pepsi Center tonight.

The Bolts received probably the best news of the season to date yesterday as it was announced that Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos, both injured during Wednesday's game against Edmonton, would be listed as day-to-day. It was initially thought that they may miss some significant time. Needless to say it is quite a relief as the pair has accounted for more than 40 percent of the team's offense. Both participated in the morning skate today and Malone told the media he would be ready to go. Stamkos will be a game time decision. Colorado Springs native David Hale will sit out for the Lightning tonight along with Lukas Krajeck, who the team put on waivers. Blair Jones was also recalled yesterday and joined the team in Denver. Rick Tocchet said whether he plays or not will depend on how things work out with Stamkos.

Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal for Tampa Bay. It will be his first start since December 4 against New Jersey. Mike Smith has carried the ball for a while now and it appears now its Niittymaki's turn.

In a special surprise (well maybe not anymore) Dave Andreychuk will be part of the Sun Sports broadcast tonight. He will be up in the booth with Rick and Chief in his return to Denver where he spent some time during his playing career.

The Lightning will practice in Denver tomorrow before flying to Chicago for their match-up with the Blackhawks.

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