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By KEVIN KELLY
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2001
TAMPA -- Don't expect to see left wing Fredrik Modin and rookie center Brad Richards paired on the same line soon, especially with captain Vinny Lecavalier out for 10-14 more days with a broken left foot.
Instead of loading a line with the Lightning's top two scorers, coach John Tortorella has opted for balance.
"They did play well together, and we may revisit that at a certain time," Tortorella said. "But I really like Modin's line right now. It's been our top line."
Modin has been paired with center Brian Holzinger and right wing Martin St. Louis. The trio had five goals and six assists in four games before Tuesday's 4-3 win against Florida at the Ice Palace.
Richards' second line has been more fluid. Left wing Todd Warriner and right wing Mike Johnson, both in scoring slumps, played with him against the Panthers.
Richards assisted on Modin's power-play goal against Carolina on Sunday, and the two played on the same line earlier this season.
"We've been playing well together lately," Modin said of he and Richards. "But playing with Brian Holzinger and Martin St. Louis has been working out well, too. Who plays with who is all up to the coaches."
MISSING LINK: Tortorella anticipated that not having Andrei Zyuzin against Florida would be a major loss.
The defenseman injured his left shoulder blade falling onto the corner of the door leading to Carolina's bench during the third period. He is day to day.
"That's a big, big hole to fill," Tortorella said. "I think earlier this year or maybe last year, if Zyuzin was out we'd just put another guy in and it would be a wash. Not now."
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Kristian Kudroc was recalled from the IHL's Detroit Vipers.
"I don't mean to be picking on just the defense," Tortorella said. "But we need to start a combination of looking at some of our younger defensemen but also creating a push here among some of our players."
This is the third time Kudroc has been recalled this season. The Florida game was his second career start. Left wing Gordie Dwyer, a healthy scratch the three previous games, was sent down to make room on the roster.
CANUCKS WATCHING: Vancouver scout Bob Murray, a former Blackhawks general manager, was at the game.
ODDS AND ENDS: Defenseman Sergey Gusev played his first game since suffering a concussion against Ottawa on Thursday. ... Defenseman Craig Millar and right wing Matt Elich were healthy scratches for the Lightning. Florida defenseman Yan Golubovsky, center Mike Sillinger and left wing Greg Adams were scratched.