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Former Lightning forward J.T. Brown returns to Tampa

It is his first time playing at Amalie Arena since he was claimed on waivers by Anaheim in January 2018.

TAMPA — It didn’t take long for former Lightning forward J.T. Brown to remember some of his favorite stomping grounds upon his return to Tampa this week.

He hadn’t been back to the area since he moved out of his house at the end of the 2017-18 season with Anaheim. But yesterday afternoon, he knew exactly where he wanted to grab a bite to eat. His taste buds were craving Datz.

Brown ordered his favorite “Double D” — two short rib and ground brisket patties served on two glazed donuts — and ate with teammate Greg Pateryn at the popular South Tampa restaurant.

“It’s really good,” he said. “Oh, it was so good.”

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Brown spent parts of six seasons with the Lightning (between 2011-2018) before he was claimed on waivers by Anaheim on Jan. 14, 2018. At the end of the season, he was signed as a free agent by Minnesota.

“There’s a lot of good memories here,” he said. “Definitely, you look back to some of the good times but obviously we have a game to play and that’s the focus moving forward.”

As the memories come flying back being in Amalie Arena once again, Brown remembers what it was like being around the guys the most. The team’s Stanley Cup finals series is one of the highlights of his career, despite it not ending the way the team wanted it to back in 2015.

“Little things like that, you kind of remember,” he said.

But Brown isn’t ignoring the emotions of being back in Tampa tonight, either.

“I’m sure they will (be pretty big),” he said. “You try to keep it down a little bit and try not to get too high, but at the same time there’s a lot of good memories here and a lot of good friends over there. But once the game starts and the puck drops, that all goes away.”

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.