TORONTO — The joke around the Lightning was Adam Hall should will his body to medical science so it can study his incredible healing powers.
The right wing was back in the lineup Thursday against the Maple Leafs after missing nine games with an upper-body injury that was supposed to keep him out the rest of the season. In February, he returned from a torn biceps a month ahead of schedule.
"We're not surprised," coach Guy Boucher said. "That's him.
"Knock on wood, I've always been throughout my career pretty lucky," Hall said. "When I have had something, I seem to be able to heal very quickly."
Several factors seem to be at play, the most basic being Hall, 31, takes care of himself.
"My wife always laughs at me," Hall said, "whether it's just drinking tons of water or getting really good sleep; a lot of things that are really basic that we take for granted."
Hall also credited the Lightning medical staff. But head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan said Hall sets his own pace.
"If you give him a timetable, he'll challenge himself," Mulligan said. "He'll push the limits."
Hall doesn't have enough faceoffs to qualify among the league leaders, but he is Tampa Bay's best on draws with a 59.9 winning percentage. He also is one of the Lightning's best defenders and averages 2:53 of shorthanded time, most among its forwards.
Hall — who on Thursday had two shots and two hits in 11:27 of ice time and won seven of eight faceoffs — said it is important to finish the season playing, even if he will get in only the final two games.
"You want to be there. These are your brothers. You live and die together," Hall said. "It's tough not being around the locker room and in the trenches with these guys. Going shoulder to shoulder with them is something I'm looking forward to."
COMPARE: In 17 games with the Maple Leafs before he was acquired by Tampa Bay, D Keith Aulie had two assists and 16 penalty minutes and was minus-2 with an average 16:07 of ice time. In 17 games with Tampa Bay entering Thursday, Aulie had one assist and 13 penalty minutes and was minus-5 while averaging 10:42 of ice time.
It is difficult to draw conclusions from the numbers. Aulie has had the added burden with the Lightning of learning a new system and a style of play that stresses positioning and stick work before the physical option.
"It was a process getting used to the system," said Aulie, dealt for prospect Carter Ashton. "After every practice, we're working on stuff like getting my eyes up and moving my feet and stick-handling. As a tall guy (6 feet 6), I've never been too talented with the puck. It's important for me to keep working on that."
"That's experience and time spent," Boucher said. "He's been working hard."
Aulie played 15:50 against Toronto, his most this season for the Lightning, had a shot and made two hits.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning reassigned RW Brandon Segal to AHL Norfolk. … D Mike Commodore and RW Tim Wallace were healthy scratches.