Malone moving closer to return
Veteran forward Ryan Malone participated in a full-team skate the past two days, taking a significant step in returning from a non-displaced ankle fracture.
Malone, who was hit by a puck Nov. 22 in Anaheim, had prevoiusly been skating on his own. He is hoping that he'll be able to return sometime during next week's road trip, with the key being getting his conditioning up.
"It felt good for just coming back," Malone said. "I've just got to make srue I keep pushing the pace each day in practice, do what I can to make sure I'll be in the best shape I can to be ready."
Coach Jon Cooper said Malone is making progress.
"He's not ready," Cooper said. "He's on track. Now it's consistency will be a big part of what we're going to do here. I would say it's going to be on him now. But I think he's made a lot of progress and hopefully next week he should be ready to go."
D Eric Brewer (upper body) was on the ice for today's morning skate, but in a red non-contact jersey. He said it felt good to be back on the ice, but has to get over a "hump" before returning. Doesn't look like it'll be until at least next week's road trip. D Sami Salo (upper body) also didn't skate today.
With Brewer and Salo's absence, the Lightning brought in some size and "bite" in defenseman Dmitry Korobov from Syracuse. Korobov, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defenseman, made his NHL debut Nov. 19 against the Kings, with Cooper saying he more than held his own. Korobov said his previous experience up makes him more comfortable this time around. "That experience against the best players in the world helps me know what I'm doing, preparing myself for the game, know what to expect," Korobov said, with teammate Nikita Kucherov interpreting.
More from the morning skate: Cooper said he's uncertain if they'll go with 12 forwards and six defensemen, will decide during warm-ups....As expected, Ben Bishop will start in net. D Jean-Phillippe Cote said it'll be special to face his former hometown team, the Canadiens, whom he last played in the NHL with (eight games in 2005-2006). Cote said there are still some familiar faces in the opposing dressing room, including G Carey Price, whom he won a Calder Cup trophy with while in the AHL. "It's been more than seven years, it's definitely a great feeling," Cote said. "It's just nice to be back in the league, to play Montreal a team that I played for and a team I grew up watching, all my friends are fans of Montreal, it's definitely a little something on top of it."