Tag: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Rangers, Game 1 of Eastern Conference Final

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This is the first time the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers will face off in a playoff series, but it doesn’t really feel like it.

The reasoning is simple: there are so many players facing their former teammates in this conference final squabble.

Martin St. Louis (pictured) versus his former team is the obvious headliner, although Ryan Callahan may steal his thunder if he managed to play this afternoon. Beyond that, Anton Stralman and Brian Boyle were useful members of last year’s Stanley Cup Finalist Rangers squad while Dan Boyle won a championship with the Bolts many moons ago.

“It’s a little bit of made-for-TV,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told the Bergen Record. “How often do two captains get traded for each other? Guys that have been big parts of a team and move on to free agency. In part, not because they didn’t want to be there but, in the salary cap era, this is what happens.”

Speaking of made-for-TV, you can watch Game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final on NBC and also stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.


‘Tough kid’ – Callahan plays in Game 1 (Update)

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Four

Update: It turns out that Ryan Callahan will, indeed, play in Game 1. Wow.


It’s impressive enough that Callahan is a game-time decision for Game 1 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final. As it turns out, it sounds like he’s more likely to play than not.

Callahan will at least warm up heading into this emotional series against the New York Rangers less than a week removed from undergoing an emergency appendectomy.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper referred to Callahan as a “tough kid” and indicated that he expects the former Rangers captain to play.

This feels unprecedented – remember a similar situation sidelining Peter Forsberg for a playoff run? – but HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman reminds us of Jonathan Ericsson’s courage:

The 30-year-old went under the knife on May 11. He missed the Lightning’s Game 6 win, yet he returned to practice less than 72 hours after the procedure. Cooper hinted at Callahan’s possible availability by referring to it coming down to “pain tolerance” and viewing him as day-to-day.

Of course, with all this optimism, Callahan (or Cooper) may pull the plug after warm-ups. It’s one thing to be tough enough to try to play, but what if he’s so limited that he ends up being a liability?

Either way, it’s a remarkable story, and another example to file under “hockey players are tough” (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Bishop lauds Lundqvist as ‘the benchmark’ for goalies

Ben Bishop, J.T. Brown

Lucky or not, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop outperformed likely Vezina (and perhaps Hart?) winner Carey Price in the second round. Now he’ll gaze across the ice at maybe the one bigger name a team could throw out there: Henrik Lundqvist.

Bishop was nothing but effusive about the star Swede, as the Tampa Tribune’s Joe Smith reports.

“I kind of look at him as the benchmark,” Bishop said. “He’s someone who has set the bar.”

Despite being 28, this is Bishop’s first playoff run. He obviously hasn’t had much time to test himself against that benchmark just yet.

He has, however, put up pretty jaw-dropping numbers against the New York Rangers (including when Lundqvist’s been in net). Bishop’s undefeated in those games with fantastic individual stats:

Impressive. As Lightning head coach Jon Cooper points out, Price and Lundqvist have already stacked up some serious resumes, while Bishop is starting to “write” his in 2015.

” … So for him to not get his due, I think he’s slowly going to get his due, and he’s writing it right before our eyes,” Cooper said. “And it’s awesome to watch a kid kind of carve out his niche in the greatest league in the world, and I think that’s what he’s doing.”

The big goalie won’t have much luck slipping under the radar if Bishop and the Lightning best Lundqvist and the Rangers, especially since that means a Stanley Cup Final trip and all …

Stamkos doesn’t mind winging it


Steven Stamkos can often be the center of attention with the Tampa Bay Lightning. It happens when you put up 51 and 60 goals in single seasons.

But, it appears sometimes a move to the wing can benefit Stamkos, which was the case late in the second round against Montreal, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s worked well the two games that we’ve done it. You know, sometimes it’s just a little change,” Stamkos told reporters on Friday.

“Some things aren’t going well, and you want to try some different combination playing on the wing. It’s definitely a little different. Your responsibility is maybe not as great as playing center. For me, I felt like my legs have been a little better. Got some pucks in space coming down the wing, being able to get some shots.

“But definitely in my opinion I’ve been able to get more quality chances and been able to use my speed down the wing a little more and get some more pucks on that. So it’s been a good change.”

Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson still leads all players in goals this post-season with eight.

After a slow start — three points in the first eight playoff games — Stamkos seems to have found his scoring touch, with three goals and seven points in the last five games.

St. Louis isn’t sentimental about time with Lightning ahead of Eastern Conference Final


Maybe when it’s all over, Martin St. Louis will sit back and think more about his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But not now. Not while his New York Rangers are up against the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final, which begins Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

St. Louis spent almost 13 seasons in Tampa Bay, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2004. The Lightning honored him in his return to Tampa Bay in November.

Last season, however, he requested a trade out of Tampa Bay and was dealt to the Rangers at the deadline, with Ryan Callahan coming back to the Lightning.

It’s a juicy storyline — St. Louis and Callahan facing their former teams — so close to the championship series.

“No, it’s not something I think about right now. Right now it’s a team that’s standing in the way of where we want to go,” St. Louis told reporters on Friday.

“I have a lot of respect for the organization over there and the people there. They treated me really well. It’s not time to reflect on it. It’s time to play playoff hockey.”

St. Louis began his time with the Lightning in the 2000-2001 season, and was just shy of a point-per-game pace when Steven Stamkos, now one of the league’s most prolific scorers, was in his rookie season with Tampa Bay.

On the subject of facing former teammates and whether this situation with St. Louis is different, Stamkos said, “I think we’re all over that, to be honest.”

However, the 25-year-old Stamkos talked openly about the impact St. Louis, now 39 years old, had on his career at a young age.

“He was a guy that took me under his wing since I was 18 years old. We got a chance to play with each other throughout probably just over halfway through my rookie year,” said Stamkos.

“Things obviously went very well. He’s the ultimate competitor, the ultimate professional. I mean, you could go on and on with how well he conducts himself. It was a perfect situation for me to come in and have a guy like him and have a guy like (Vincent Lecavalier) there.”