The Lightning finally get the chance to see some game action tonight after three nights in Columbus, Ohio following their 7-1 loss at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The Bolts have used the time without games to do some bonding, having dinner together and learning about all that the city of Columbus has to offer. They were also put through two hard days of practice, with one only consisting of two pucks and the other featuring a series of battle drills. So I'm sure the team is excited to be able to finally hit someone on a different team.
There are still a lot of moving parts when it comes to the line up. First, the obvious. Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal. Niittymaki has played well and even though he allowed three goals to open the Buffalo game, they really weren't entirely his fault. Ryan Malone, after joining the team Sunday night, skated yesterday and today but he will not be on the ice tonight. He says he is ready to go so hopefully he can be cleared to play tomorrow. It sounds like Matt Walker, who has missed the previous two practices, will not play either. Kurtis Foster, who sustained an upper body injury in Boston on Thursday, sounds like he'll be ready to go tonight after passing some tests yesterday. Vlad Mihalik, who the Lightning recalled Saturday in Buffalo, was the final player to come off the ice this morning so he may be the other scratch, with Matt Smaby staying in the line up. We're going to have to wait and see for that one.
With tonight's game not on television in the Bay Area be sure to listen to the game with Dave Mishkin on 620 WDAE or check it out on the Center Ice Package.
Tomorrow the Lightning will make their final trip to Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. This is the building's last season as the Penguins prepare to open a new building across the street next season.