Halpern returns for first time since June surgery

Updated: December 18, 2008, 9:01 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Lightning center Jeff Halpern was in the Tampa Bay lineup Thursday night for the first time since reconstructive right knee surgery in June.

Halpern, injured while playing for the United States at the hockey world championships, was acquired by Tampa Bay last February in a multiplayer deal with the Dallas Stars.

Halpern scored his first goal since April 2 from the slot in the second period of Thursday's game against the Colorado Avalanche.

Lightning left winger Ryan Malone also played Thursday after sitting five games because of an undisclosed upper body injury.

Tampa Bay recalled goalie Karri Ramo on an emergency basis from AHL Norfolk. He replaced Olaf Kolzig, who missed Thursday's game with an upper body injury, as the backup to Mike Smith. Tampa Bay also reassigned center Zenon Konopka to Norfolk.

Lightning forward Gary Roberts sat out for the eighth consecutive game because of an elbow injury. The 42-year old forward will likely retire after the season.

The Avalanche got two players back from the injured list on Thursday. Darcy Tucker (knee) was in the lineup after missing 11 games, and fellow forward Ben Guite (ribs) returned after sitting out 17 games.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press