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Lightning coach Cooper sees Callahan ready to score

by David Satriano /

NEW YORK -- Ryan Callahan scored five goals in three regular-season games against the New York Rangers, but the Tampa Bay Lightning forward has no points in four games in the Eastern Conference Final.

His coach thinks that will change in Game 5 on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Probably tonight's the night he's going to score because he does that on big stages and he is probably going to do that in the building he grew up in as a hockey player," Lighting coach Jon Cooper said after the morning skate.

Callahan, a former Rangers captain, has three assists in 16 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He missed Game 6 against the Montreal Canadiens in the second round after having an emergency appendectomy, but returned five days later for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

"That's good, I'll take it," Callahan said about his coach's prediction. "I'm just trying to look at the other parts of the game and hopefully the puck goes in the net for me. Just trying to do the little things, get to the front of the net, that's where I am successful. … Hopefully one hits off me and goes in the net and it can kind of end this skid I've been on."

Cooper said Callahan's lack of offense isn't noticeable because of all the other things he does.

"Ryan Callahan brings so much to our team in the locker room, on the ice, his physical play. Defense pairings know when he's out on the ice," Cooper said. "He is a pain in the butt in front of the net and he just wears his heart on his sleeve. Everybody's not going to score at the pace of [Steven] Stamkos or [Tyler] Johnson or [Nikita] Kucherov or those guys who are scoring. But you need other guys to help carry the load and [Callahan] is one of those guys."

Callahan, who played for the Rangers for parts of seven seasons before he was sent to the Lightning prior to the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline, said he's not looking for revenge.

"It's the conference final," Callahan said. "I don't need any extra emotion or energy or reason to play well. Just trying to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals is reason enough."


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