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Lightning's Callahan practices, could play in Game 1

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan would like nothing more than to return to the lineup to face his former team, the New York Rangers, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Callahan, who missed Game 6 of the second-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after having an emergency appendectomy Monday, was on the ice during practice at the Garden on Friday. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper called Callahan day-to-day.

"It's going to be a pain-tolerance thing," Cooper said. "We're not going to put him in a situation where he can do further damage. It's definitely sore, but he's getting better every day, so ultimately it'll come down to Ryan Callahan and how much pain he's in."

Callahan was released from the hospital Tuesday and watched the Lightning's 4-1 Game 6 win against the Canadiens from home.

"It'll come down to how I feel and how my body reacts after I take my skates off [today]," Callahan said. "I don't know how it's going to feel after cool down and after skating, so it'll depend on my body and how I feel.

"I was told the recovery is pretty quick, and each day it seems to be getting better, so we're moving in the right direction."

Callahan was traded by the Rangers to the Lightning at the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline for Martin St. Louis. In three wins against the Rangers during the regular season, Callahan had four goals and five points.

Callahan skated on a line with Jonathan Marchessault and Cedric Paquette during practice and appeared comfortable. He participated in an optional skate Thursday in Brandon, Fla. He has skated with captain Steven Stamkos this season but can play on the third line in a defensive role with center Brian Boyle and Paquette.

Marchessault replaced Callahan in the lineup for Game 6 against Montreal; he played 11:15 and had one shot on goal and one hit. He played two games with the Lightning during the regular season, scoring his first NHL goal against the Boston Bruins on April 11.


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