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LIGHTNING NOTES: Drew Shore, Kris Versteeg Make Their Return in Tampa Bay

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TAMPA -- Drew Shore said he wasn't sure his demotion back to the minor leagues would be short lived until Monday.

Of course, Shore didn't consider a trip to the American Hockey League All-Star Game anything less than an honor. Either way, Shore's trip back to the AHL was short lived.

"I think I've gotten better each game,'' Shore said from inside the visitors' locker room at the Forum after catching a 7 a.m. Southwest non-stop flight from Rhode Island to Tampa.

"I started off and I thought I was solid. By the third game, I really thought I was creating some offense. It would have been nice to have one or two go in.''

Shore and fellow rookie Quinton Howden after Saturday's loss to the Flyers -- although the Panthers always planned to bring back Shore. The Panthers have been happy with his play in the first three games of his NHL career.

In games against Montreal and Ottawa, Shore had big scoring chances taken away thanks to great goaltending. Saturday, Shore seemed to be the only player in a red sweater doing much of anything as he took five shots on goal and won 10 of 12 faceoffs.

Shore, who had a goal and an assist in Monday's All-Star Game, played in his fourth game Tuesday on a line with Peter Mueller and Jonathan Huberdeau.

-- The Panthers had a familiar face back on the ice Saturday as Kris Versteeg made his 2013 season debut.

Due to the lockout and a groin injury that happened a day before the season opener, Versteeg hadn't been in a game situation since Florida's Game 7 loss to New Jersey on April 27.

"I've gone from a coach to a player. It's a bit different,'' said Versteeg, who spent part of the lockout working out at a college in his hometown in Alberta.

"I think it's been nine months since my last game, so it's been a long time. From my surgery to the lockout to being set back another few games, it's been tough a bit mentally. But that's why you are professional. You have to be ready when you are fit to go.''

With Stephen Weiss (groin) out, Florida's first line still hasn't played together this season. On Tuesday, Tomas Kopecky centered Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann at the start.

-- Fleischmann was one of the Panthers impressed with the Lightning's new $5 million scoreboard -- one that resembles the monster at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

"This is just for hockey?,'' Fleischmann mused. "Nice.''

-- Mike Santorelli and Tyson Strachan were Tuesday's healthy scratches.

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