TAMPA -- Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan insists he doesn't need the extra motivation at this time of the season. It's nice to have it anyway.
Callahan has an opportunity Tuesday at Amalie Arena in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) against the New York Rangers to knock his former teammates out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs so he can get to the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay leads the best-of-7 series 3-2 after its 2-0 win Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
Callahan's not looking at it as retribution, but in a way it is because Callahan watched, admittedly with mixed emotions, as the Rangers advanced to the Stanley Cup Final without him last season.
Contract talks between the Rangers and Callahan broke down to the point he was sent to the Lightning on March 5, 2014, in a trade that involved Martin St. Louis coming to New York and draft picks changing hands.
"By mixed emotions I mean I wanted to be part of it," Callahan said of the Rangers' run to the Cup Final last season. "That's something we'd been working towards. Being a captain of that team and being a part of that organization, that's something you wanted to be part of. By no means did I have anything negative toward them making that run. When I left I knew they were a great team and they had a great shot at it, so it was good to see."