Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Former Ranger Ryan Callahan had two goals and
an assist against his ex-team to spoil Martin St. Louis’ return to Tampa and
help the Lightning to a 4-3 victory over New York.
The pregame buildup was solely centered on St. Louis’ first game in Amalie
Arena since the Lightning’s all-time leading scorer requested and was granted
a trade to the Rangers on March 5. However, it was Callahan — the key player
Tampa Bay received in the blockbuster swap — who earned the night’s First
Star as St. Louis was held off the scoresheet.
Steven Stamkos made quite an impact as well, notching a goal and two assists
in the Lightning’s fourth win in their last six outings. Ben Bishop finished
with 16 saves in the triumph.
New York entered the anticipated matchup off shutout wins over Philadelphia
and Montreal, but Henrik Lundqvist stopped just 25-of-29 shots and St. Louis
was mostly a non-factor.
Rick Nash did record a goal and an assist for the Rangers, with Mats
Zuccarello and Dan Boyle also scoring in defeat.
Callahan accounted for the first two of three consecutive Tampa Bay goals that
erased a 2-1 deficit late in the opening period, during which St. Louis
received a generally positive ovation from the home crowd as a video saluting
his 12 1/2-year tenure with the Lightning was shown on the scoreboard.
A double-minor penalty to Nash led to Callahan’s initial tally of the night,
with the former Rangers captain crashing the net to re-direct a long drive
from Jason Garrison 2:26 prior to the first intermission.
Callahan’s second came midway through the second period off a pinpoint pass
from Stamkos, who wheeled around the New York net to set up his teammate for a
successful wrister in close that put the Lightning up 3-2.
Boyle nearly tied it just seconds into the third with a blast that struck the
post, but the Rangers later fell behind by two when Matt Carle’s point shot
deflected off Kucherov’s skate and trickled by Lundqvist with 10:22 to go.
Nash got New York back within one when he turned a giveaway from Tampa’s
Andrej Sustr into his 15th goal of the season with 7:11 left to play. The
Rangers didn’t threaten thereafter, though, as the Lightning held on for the
Stamkos quickly put to rest any hopes of a third straight Rangers’ shutout,
with the star center setting off a flurry of first-period goals by rifling a
shot over Lundqvist’s left shoulder on a Tampa power play just 5:25 into the
New York answered just over 3 1/2 minutes later when Sustr fanned on a
clearing attempt, creating a 2-on-1 between Nash and Zuccarello in which
Bishop had no chance to turn away the latter’s attempt.
The Lightning took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty less than two minutes
after Zuccarello’s score, with the Rangers converting the chance on Boyle’s
one-timer off a Derek Stepan feed.
Callahan also had two goals in the first meeting between the clubs since the
trade, a 5-1 Lightning win at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 17 … The
Lightning are now 13-0-0 following the trade when Callahan scores at least one
goal … Nash’s assist on Zuccarello’s marker was the 300th of his career …
Lightning forward Alex Killorn extended his career-best point streak to six
games with an assist on Callahan’s second goal … Boyle’s goal was the free-
agent pickup’s first point as a Ranger … Bishop improved to 7-0-0 all-time
against New York.