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Smaby back, Niitty expected to get start tonight against Hurricanes

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning will get back at it tonight at the RBC Center in Raleigh and look to snap a two-game losing streak.  There will be some roster shifting tonight as Matt Smaby will make his return to the line-up for the first time since January 9.  In order to bring Smaby off injured reserve the team placed goaltender Mike Smith on the IR retroactive to January 12.  Smith has returned to Tampa to get some specialized treatment on his strained neck.  Matt Walker will sit tonight as Smaby returns to the ice. 

Antero Niittymaki will get his third consecutive start in goal tonight.  Niittymaki put the blame for Saturday's loss on his own shoulders and should be ready to bounce back tonight.  Steve Downie is expected to get more ice time and he deserves it.  He has been a physical force while also showing up on the score sheet recently and it hasn't gone unnoticed.  Head Coach Rick Tocchet has moved Downie up to the first line with Steven Stamkos as a reward. 

Yesterday the team practiced at the RBC Center and made it back for the players to catch the afternoon AFC playoff game between the Jets and Chargers as a group. 

After the game tonight the team will travel to New York for Tuesday's game against the Rangers.  Note that the game will be on VERSUS, but you'll hear a familiar voice as Rick Peckham will be calling the game. 

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