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by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Defenseman Marek Malik officially put pen to paper and signed a one-year contract today, and he’s expected to be in the lineup Saturday when the Lightning face the San Jose Sharks at the St. Pete Times Forum.

“We brought him here to play and we need to find out what he can do, so he’ll probably be in the lineup,” head coach Barry Melrose said today.

Melrose, like many coaches, likes to keep his lineup intact after a win, but with Radim Vrbata going down in practice yesterday, changes were already going to have to be made to the group that beat the Thrashers Tuesday night. Vrbata is listed as day to day with a lower body injury and Ryan Craig suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin injury, so new acquisition Matt Pettinger or Jason Ward will likely get in the lineup Saturday as well. Ward cleared waivers yesterday but has remained in Tampa.

Today’s forward lines in practice were:

Prospal-Lecavalier-St. Louis

With only five games played during a 17-day span at home, the Lightning are anxious to hit the road for a bit starting with Monday’s trip to Toronto. The schedule gets more hectic starting next week, but it’s the type of schedule NHL players are used to. Starting Tuesday in Toronto, the team will play nine games (seven on the road) in the next 17-day span.

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