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Malone hopes to return to lineup tonight versus the Canes

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

After an extended period of three days without a game, the Bolts get back on home ice tonight as they welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to the St. Pete Times Forum.  The 'Canes come into tonight losers of two in a row, albeit one in a shootout. 

The Lightning recalled forward Blair Jones and defenseman Matt Lashoff from Norfolk today, although it appears Jones won't be staying long.  Ryan Malone will make his long-awaited return to the ice tonight after missing the previous 12 games following a minor knee procedure and an undisclosed upper body injury.  It appears as though Lashoff will be back in the line up though, with Victor Hedman, Matt Smaby and David Hale being out with different injuries.  Hedman and Smaby skated with the team today and remained out for the entire skate.  Rick Tocchet said Hedman was a possibility for Thursday's game against Ottawa.

Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal.  "Niitty" has been a great calming force for the Lightning this season and with Tocchet saying he does not have a plan the rest of the season it is a great chance for Niittymaki to showcase his skills as he becomes a free agent this summer.  He has not allowed more than three goals in each of his previous five appearances.

Tonight's game can be found on television on Sun Sports or on radio on 970WFLA due to the Rays opener tonight.

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