Lightning Strikes (Cristodero)
BRANDON - Three days after having an emergency appendectomy, Lightning wing Ryan Callahan was back on the ice.
He participated in a light skate Thursday during practice, before the team left for New York to start the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers. Callahan called himself day-to-day and didn’t rule out returning to action for Game 1 on Saturday.
“Each day it’s felt tremendously better…” Callahan said. “It’s been a good sign.”
Callahan said the problem started Monday with a stomachache. The pain worsened, and that night he had surgery to remove his appendix. He had to watch Tuesday’s series-clinching win over Montreal at home.
“It was a tough thing to do, but they made it easy on me…” Callahan said. “A couple times I jumped around a little bit too much, I think.”
Callahan said he’s tried to take his recovery slowly. He was very sore Tuesday but felt well enough Wednesday to take his dog for a walk. He accomplished his goal of doing more physical activity Thursday at the Ice Sports Forum.
“I think a lot of players in that room would be doing the same thing,” Callahan said.
TAMPA – A few quick notes from today’s morning skate at Amalie Arena:
* Although the Lightning is up 2-0 on the Canadiens and has won all seven meetings this season, Tampa Bay doesn’t sound overconfident.
“We’ve got a good chance to take another step,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. “Don’t let it slip away.”
The Lightning expects Montreal to be desperate tonight, just as the Lightning was desperate when it faced an 0-2 deficit to the Canadiens in last year’s first round.
“We’ve been in that situation before,” center Steven Stamkos said. “You want to give your best effort. This is a huge game for them. I think we realize the magnitude of coming back in front of our home fans…We have to find a way to match it. It’s not going to be easy.”
* Stamkos said the Lightning will need to get more shots against Montreal goalie Carey Price than it did in Game 2. Tampa Bay scored on six of its 24 shots Sunday.
“We can’t expect that clip to continue against a goalie like that,” Stamkos said.
* Coach Jon Cooper and his players said what happens tonight will affect how they approach tomorrow’s Game 4 in the back-to-back situation. Cooper didn’t seem to mind the possibility of starting goalie Ben Bishop in both games; Bishop has only started back-to-back games once this season but would play Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in the American Hockey League.
“This won’t be new,” Cooper said.
Backup Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t played since March 31.