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Two remain after Klima forced off ice

And then there were two.

Before slightly separating his right shoulder in a loss in Edmonton Sunday, 23-goal scorer Petr Klima was one of three Lightning players to skate in every game this season.

Now the only two who have played in all 66 are veteran defenseman Joe Reekie and rookie center Chris Gratton, who remained available despite having a broken nose and swollen hand at various times this season.

Noting the aggressive style of both Reekie and Gratton, Lightning trainer Larry Ness considers their durability "an impressive accomplishment."

Only one Lightning player, wing Rob Zamuner, appeared in all 84 games last season.

Zamuner was the club's only non-injury scratch for Thursday's game with New Jersey, joining Klima and the injured Roman Hamrlik (shoulder) and Donald Dufresne (knee).

Klima could be out 10 days. Hamrlik, bruised in the Lightning's victory at Washington on Tuesday, and Dufresne, who was re-injured Feb.

17, are listed as day-to-day.

The flu limited the playing time of Brian Bradley and Reekie.

Recognizing a milestone

In a brief ceremony before the home game against Hartford on Saturday night, Tampa Bay center Denis Savard will be honored for having played in his 1,000th NHL game. Savard, whose second-period goal put the Lightning up 2-0, became the 95th player in league history to play in that many games when he hit the magic mark in Edmonton.

Welcome back

Defenseman Chris LiPuma, recalled from Atlanta after Hamrlik was injured, played in his 27th game with Tampa Bay.

LiPuma, somewhat of a marked man in the minors, registered 158 penalty minutes in 24 games with the Knights compared to 73 minutes in his first 26 games with the Lightning. But he quickly picked up four in the second period of his first NHL game since Feb. 12 _ for roughing.

By the numbers

No one on the New Jersey roster began the game with a negative plus-minus ratio. The Lightning had 15 players at minus-2 or lower. Three of the Devils stood among the NHL's top six in that category: second-place Scott Stevens (+38), Valeri Zelepukin (+30) and Scott Niedermayer (+30). Detroit's Sergei Fedorov (+41) was the league leader. Tampa Bay is 5-15-4 against opponents from its division, the Atlantic, but 19-19-4 against the rest of the league.

Banner for the absent

Tampa Bay management may be tired of hearing about Chris Kontos, who, because of an off-season disagreement over new contract terms, wound up playing for Team Canada in the Winter Olympics rather than with Lightning.

But some Lightning fans haven't forgotten the forward who scored four goals when the franchise beat Chicago 7-3 in its first regular NHL game.

Read one banner hanging in the ThunderDome: "CONGRATULATIONS OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALIST CHRIS KONTOS."

_ TIM BUCKLEY

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