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by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Hello from sunny Marina Del Rey, which has been absolutely gorgeous this weekend. The Lightning arrived here Friday night after a huge win in Anaheim, and the team got in a pair of practices at the Toyota Sports Center in nearby El Segundo. Today’s workout was only about 40 minutes after a longer one yesterday. The highlight of today’s practice was a massive collision between Evgeny Artyukhin and David Koci behind the net. Artyukhin was carrying the puck with his head down when Koci stepped into him at full force, and both of them went down. Hard! Luckily both got up smiling after the nearly 500-pound impact.

The injury bug is creeping up a little bit once again, though it’s not known how to what extent. Defensemen Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby and Steve Eminger missed both practices, along with goaltender Olaf Kolzig.

“We’ve got some guys banged up,” Lightning Head Coach Rick Tocchet said today. “We’ll see what the status is tomorrow and who can play.”

Tocchet wouldn’t discuss the injuries in detail but said off the three defensemen, he thought Krajicek had the best chance of playing. He also said that Vladimir Mihalik is expected to be recalled from Norfolk tomorrow. Steven Stamkos will definitely be back in the lineup, and there’s a chance of playing with only five D tomorrow night against the Kings. With the lack of D-men on the ice for practice, Tocchet used wings Koci and Mark Recchi as fill-ins for portions.

Revisiting Friday’s big bounce-back win, Tocchet said Matt Pettinger and Martin St. Louis each played a big part in the win.

“Matt really stepped up and did something out of character,” Tocchet said of Pettinger’s fight with Ryan Getzlaf, which fired up the Lightning bench. “And Marty was really the key for us winning that game.”

As disappointed as everyone was after the game in Phoenix, Tampa Bay has a fantastic opportunity tomorrow night to turn this trip into huge confidence boost. Who wouldn’t want to arrive in San Jose Tuesday morning with a 3-1 record on this Western swing?

Off to Venice Beach for some lunch!

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