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Injured Boyle, Modin making strides
By TOM JONES
Published April 2, 2006
SUNRISE - They're back on skates. But they are not ready to play.
Defenseman Dan Boyleskated for the second straight day Saturday and forward Fredrik Modinskated in the morning, too. Neither, however, played and neither is sure when he will.
Boyle has missed three games with a high ankle sprain and looks to be skating gingerly.
"It's better than it was," Boyle said. "I couldn't even walk the first day and now I'm out here skating. ... As far as when I'll be back, I don't know. Anyone who has ever had an ankle sprain knows it's pretty painful, especially for a hockey player."
Boyle estimates he is going about 50 to 60 percent in practice, without contact.
Meantime, Modin, who has a groin strain, also isn't 100 percent.
"Obviously there's that fear of reinjuring it," Modin said. "You can move around out there pretty good, but as soon as you put some contact in there and some starts and stops, it's not up to where it needs to be."
Modin said he hopes to play Monday against the Panthers, but that might be optimistic. Boyle said it's frustrating not to be in the lineup, especially with a playoff spot still not secure.
"This is where if we had a nice cushion (in the playoff race) you can rest some guys," Boyle said. "We didn't get it done earlier in the season."
Defenseman Pavel Kubinamissed his second game with a lower-body injury. He is officially day to day, but he did not skate Saturday.
FILLING IN: With Modin out, forward Dmitry Afanasenkovhas taken his spot on the line with Brad Richardsand Marty St. Louis.
Coach John Tortorellaexperimented with rookie Ryan Craig, who has 14 goals, on that line, but believes Afanasenkov, who has a career-high eight goals, is a better fit.
"We've tried it twice with Craig and it doesn't work," Tortorella said. "Affy is a skilled guy ... and, of late, his game has come around. There are not a whole bunch of other choices as you go through the lineup that is going to sit in an offensive position. And Affy is the guy. Craig, I just think he is a better fit with the grinding of the ( Tim) Taylorline."
NO. 400: Saturday was Richards' 400th NHL game.
It also was defenseman Cory Sarich' s 400th game with the Lightning. He played 46 games with the Sabres before joining the Lightning in March 2000. They are tied for seventh on the Lightning's all-time games play list, four behind Chris Gratton. Vinny Lecavalieris the all-time leader with 539 and counting.