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Lightning goalie sits, but injury not serious

Lightning goalie Mike Smith, acquired in February, sat out Tuesday with what the team called a slight knee strain.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

Lightning goalie Mike Smith, acquired in February, sat out Tuesday with what the team called a slight knee strain.

TAMPA — Mike Smith's relief was punctuated by the smile on his face.

The Lightning goaltender escaped Monday's incident at practice with no more than a strained left knee, the team said. In fact, coach John Tortorella said an MRI exam showed "no structural damage at all."

"Just day to day, nothing major," Smith said. "That's the good news."

The Lightning still expects to call up Marc Denis from AHL Norfolk if he clears recall waivers at noon today, though depending on Smith's status he might not even suit up for Thursday's game with the Capitals.

Jonathan Boutin was called up from Norfolk on an emergency basis to back up Karri Ramo Tuesday against the Panthers. He is returning to Norfolk.

The situation had the potential to be much worse.

Smith was hurt at the end of Monday's practice when Marty St. Louis fell on him during a breakaway drill. Smith went to the locker room and lay on the floor while being examined by trainer Tommy Mulligan.

"I've been injured before," said Smith, adding the knee flared up overnight. "It's not a good feeling. I was more upset than anything I wouldn't be able to play."

Smith said it shouldn't be long before he is on the ice.

"I've played in pain before," he said. "So, we'll see what I can do."

RANGERS' MRI: Defenseman Paul Ranger had what team spokesman Bill Wickett said was an "inconclusive" MRI exam on his injured left shoulder and will need more tests. Ranger suffered what the team is calling a subluxation when checked into the boards March 19 in Buffalo.

"I feel like it's getting better every day," said Ranger, expected to sit out the rest of the season.

EUROPEAN EXHIBITION: It has not been announced, but the Lightning likely will play an exhibition in Berlin before next season's opener against the Rangers in Prague, Czech Republic.

HALPERN RETURNS: Center Jeff Halpern said he wanted to take faceoffs Tuesday, which he hasn't done since March  15 against the Rangers. But a lingering back strain has made the team cautious. Vinny Lecavalier (14-for-21), Craig MacDonald (9-for-13) and Andreas Karlsson (5-for-8) picked up the slack.

ODDS AND ENDS: The season series with Florida was 4-4-0. … Captain Tim Taylor and Dave Andreychuk will be on the St. Pete Times Forum plaza stage before games Saturday and Monday for fan questions. … Forwards Karl Stewart and Andre Roy were healthy scratches.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Lightning goalie sits, but injury not serious 03/25/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 5:00pm]
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