(SportsNetwork.com) – A little over a week since Ryan Callahan made his return
to New York City a triumphant one, Martin St. Louis will try to do the same
thing when his New York Rangers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.
Callahan and St. Louis were involved in a trade for each other last season, as
the Rangers and Lightning swapped captains. The former player made his return
to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 17 and posted two goals to help the Bolts
rout New York, 5-1.
Now it’s St. Louis’ turn to visit his former stomping grounds, as the 39-year-
old steps on the ice at Amalie Arena for the first time since getting dealt to
New York on March 5.
St. Louis helped Tampa win its only Stanley Cup title in 2004, and is the
franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 953 points on 365 goals and 588
assists. He recorded New York’s lone goal in last week’s loss against the
Bolts and has eight goals and nine assists this season.
The two-time Art Ross Trophy winner met the media in Tampa on Tuesday and
hedged his bets when it comes to guessing what type of reception he’ll receive
“I am expecting the worst, but am hoping for the best,” St. Louis quipped.
The part of St. Louis expecting the worse is probably thinking about the way
he left the Lightning. The franchise’s longtime star requested a trade out of
Tampa after being left off Canada’s 2014 Olympic team by Steve Yzerman, who
was general manager of both the Lightning and Team Canada.
“I’m sure there’s going to be mixed emotions for him coming in tomorrow,” said
current Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. “To be honest, I think there’s going
to be some cheers and probably some boos and I think he probably knows that.
When he made his decision, I’m sure he thought about this day at the time, but
for all the things that he did do, I think there are going to be people that
remember the good moments.”
The Rangers have only played twice since losing to the Lightning early last
week, but went 2-0 in those home outings while not allowing a goal. New York
posted a 2-0 win over Philadelphia last Wednesday and smoked the Montreal
Canadiens, 5-0, on Sunday.
St. Louis had a goal and assist to lead the way versus the Canadiens, while
Derek Stepan, Dominic Moore, Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin also scored for New
Backup Cam Talbot recorded the shutout against the Flyers, but No. 1 option
Henrik Lundqvist did the job on Sunday, posting 21 saves for his fourth
shutout of the season.
“We are a fast team,” Lundqvist said. “We just need to start from the right
end and that’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks here.”
Lundqvist, who stopped only 25-of-30 shots in the recent loss to Tampa,
expects to start again tonight. He is 17-10-6 with a 2.28 goals against
average in 33 career games against the Lightning.
The Lightning, meanwhile, lost two straight following the emotional high of
the win over New York, but Tampa was able to get back on track with Saturday’s
2-1 home victory over Minnesota.
Ben Bishop made 30 saves, including 12 in the third period to lead the Bolts
past the Wild. Stamkos and Alex Killorn scored for the Lightning, who improved
to 8-2-1 as the host after claiming the opener of a three-game homestand.
Bishop is expected to start tonight and boasts a 6-0 record and a .93 GAA in
his career against the Rangers.
Tampa has won two of the last three overall meetings with New York, but the
Rangers have claimed two of the past three encounters in Central Florida.