NEW YORK --
As Ryan Malone sat at his locker stall Friday removing his hockey equipment in the visitor's locker room at Madison Square Garden, he tried to catch his breath before answering questions about his playing status.
While he wouldn't go as far to say that games are less taxing than being pushed through lengthy morning practices, he did say games are a lot more fun.
Malone seems set to get back to having fun.
After practicing for the fourth consecutive day, and doing so without a colored jersey indicating an injured player, Malone — out with an upper-body injury suffered Jan. 21 — is expecting to be back in the lineup Saturday when the Lightning play at Buffalo.
"Everything feels good. I took a little contact out there, so we are just making sure and we'll see how it feels and take it day by day," Malone said. "We don't want to come back too soon and then you take one hit and we are right back to Square 1. So we want to make sure everything is good and I can last the rest of the season."