Tampa Bay Lightning wing Ryan Callahan wasn't the focal point of the transaction that sent Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers at the NHL Trade Deadline. Though St. Louis has yet to score in 13 games with New York, former Rangers captain Callahan has flourished in his new surroundings down south.
The hope is he can continue that scoring run when the Lightning visit the Buffalo Sabres Saturday night at First Niagara Center, which is located roughly 75 miles from Callahan's hometown of Rochester, N.Y.
"I'm really glad to be in Tampa," Callahan said after the morning skate Saturday. "I couldn't have landed in a better spot."
Callahan has eight points in 11 games with Tampa Bay, including three goals in his past four games. He scored both of Tampa Bay's goals in regulation Thursday against the New York Islanders before the Lightning won 3-2 in a 13-round shootout.
Entering play Saturday, the Lightning trail the Montreal Canadiens by two points for second place in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay holds two games in hand on Montreal, which plays the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
The Sabres have had the NHL's worst record much of the season and have been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention. So with nine games remaining, coach Ted Nolan and general manager Tim Murray are assessing their crop of young talent to see who may be back next season.
That group includes forward Zemgus Girgensons, who returns to the lineup after missing 11 games with a lower-body injury. He will skate on a rebuilt first line with center Cody Hodgson shifted to the wing.
"Tim and I had some really good discussions on going forward with the team and some of the pieces we have. Cody is certainly one of those pieces. We want to see where he best fits with the team going forward. Maybe he's a better winger," Nolan said. "He's not known for his great defense. We don't want him to play great defense, we want him to score, but you've got to be reliable defensively. The wing position isn't as complicated as playing center."
Goaltender Matt Hackett will start for the Sabres against Ben Bishop for the Lightning. But it's longtime Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek who should get the loudest ovation. The Stanley Cup and Olympic champion will be honored before the game after the Sabres announced Friday they would retire his No. 39 next season.
Here are the projected lineups for the Lightning and Sabres:
Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Teddy Purcell
Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan
J.T. Brown - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
B.J. Crombeen - Nate Thompson - Ryan Malone
Victor Hedman - Sami Salo
Matthew Carle - Radko Gudas
Eric Brewer - Michael Kostka
Scratched: Tom Pyatt, Mark Barberio, Keith Aulie, Richard Panik
Cory Conacher - Tyler Ennis - Drew Stafford
Cody Hodgson - Zemgus Girgensons - Brian Flynn
Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Matt D'Agostini
John Scott - Matt Ellis - Nicolas Deslauriers
Christian Ehrhoff - Rasmus Ristolainen
Jamie McBain - Mike Weber
Chad Ruhwedel - Henrik Tallinder
Injured: Ville Leino (concussion), Tyler Myers (upper body), Torrey Mitchell (undisclosed), Chris Stewart (ankle), Zenon Konopka (back), Alex Sulzer (upper body), Jhonas Enroth (lower body), Michal Neuvirth (lower body)