NEW YORK — The Lightning is hopeful W Ryan Malone, out seven games with what is believed to be a stomach muscle injury, will be in the lineup the first week of April.
That, GM Steve Yzerman said, has lessened some of the urgency to make a deal for a forward by today's 3 p.m. trade deadline.
Not that Yzerman has taken his lines out of the water. But with Malone on track for the playoffs and Yzerman adamant he will not deal high draft choices or top prospects, it seems Tampa Bay is looking for depth rather than to make a splash.
Even that is not certain.
"To say add a depth player, I might as well bring up one of the guys from the minors," Yzerman said Sunday. "To add another forward, he has to be better than those guys. I'm not going to give up an asset if he's not going to improve what he have."
One area from which Yzerman might deal is defense. When Mattias Ohlund (lower body) and Mike Lundin (abdomen) are back in the lineup, something coach Guy Boucher indicated could happen this week, the Lightning will have nine blue-liners.
Eight would be better as Boucher generally dresses seven with one extra in case of injury.
"So obviously, that's an option to see if there's something that can make us better," Yzerman said. "But we're not going to get rid of them just to get rid of them. It better be something that either helps us going into the playoffs or as an organization in the future."
"There are a few teams I talked to that, potentially, there is a fit," Yzerman added. "It's a matter of deciding if we're going to add something or not. We'll wait and see what happens."
BODILY HARM: Marty St. Louis' left arm was wrapped in ice after the game. He slid in the third period to block Artem Anisimov's shot. X-rays were negative, the team said.
St. Louis' 54 blocked shots are 12th among league forwards.
STRANGE GOAL: There was a question whether Brandon Prust's short-handed, breakaway goal should have been disallowed because his stick pushed the left leg of Lightning G Dwayne Roloson away from the sliding puck. Roloson appeared to complain to referees after the play.
"I made the save, and the next thing you know, I'm pushed in the net," Roloson said "I just wanted to ask them, 'Did I get pushed in?' He said no. I wasn't mad. I was focused and ready to go again."
"Maybe he thought I ran him over," Prust said. "I made a move. That's why he was out of the net."
Roloson said he approached a referee after the game.
"He said, 'That's the toughest decision I had to make on a goal all year,' " Roloson said. "They're making the calls in split seconds. You have to give them credit."
OHLUND OUT: Ohlund missed his second straight game. His status for Wednesday against the Devils is uncertain. As for Sunday, Boucher said Ohlund "wasn't even close."
ODDS AND ENDS: Boucher called the Madison Square Garden ice "slush," and C Steven Stamkos called it the "worst of the year." … The Lightning has allowed 11 short-handed goals, tied with the Sabres for league worst. … G Curtis McElhinney, who is on waivers, was scratched.