Thursday, September 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan out; Dan Girardi in the lineup

NEWARK, N.J. — The Lightning played Game 3 without RW Ryan Callahan, who left Game 2 in the final minute of the second period with what is believed to be a right shoulder injury.

Not only did the Lightning miss Callahan on the penalty kill but Tampa Bay also missed the experience of his 106 career playoff games.

"He's a character guy, a guy that puts everything on the line for us," C Tyler Johnson said after the morning skate. "He's a big part of the lineup, but we have other guys who can step in and fill in holes and roles, and hopefully he can get back soon."

Callahan, who missed four games in late March with a similar injury, skated with the team Monday morning. Afterward, coach Jon Cooper indicated Callahan could return to the lineup Wednesday.

Cory Conacher replaced Callahan on the fourth line with Cedric Paquette and Chris Kunitz. He played in 36 regular-season games with eight goals and four assists. He filled in for Callahan in late March in games at Boston and New York against the Rangers and played on the same line as he did Monday.

"I'm familiar with these guys. I know how they like to play," Conacher said. "We have to make it hard on whatever line we're matched up against. We've got to finish checks, get pucks in deep, make them go 200 (feet). You never know. We have skill to put the pucks in, as well. If we put in a rebound, it will help the team for sure."

Conacher, a healthy scratch during the first two games of this series, last played in the NHL playoffs in 2013 when he was with the Senators. Conacher played in eight games during two series and scored three goals.

Meanwhile, D Dan Girardi, who did not return for the third period Saturday, was in the lineup. D Andrej Sustr also skated during warmups but was scratched.

Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils tends net against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Goalie swap not a concern

It was no surprise that Jersey coach John Hynes went with G Cory Schneider for Game 3. Keith Kinkaid, who played so well in getting the Devils to the eighth seed in the conference playoffs after taking over in late January for Schneider, allowed nine goals in fewer than five full periods and was pulled in the second period of Game 2.

The change in goal for the Devils was not much of a concern before Game 3 for the Lightning.

"No, not for me," C Yanni Gourde said. "I'm just going to go to the net and try to battle there, put pucks there. Whoever is in net doesn't really change my game."

Added Johnson: "It doesn't really matter the lineup, the goalie. We're focused on ourselves. We feel if we're playing our game, playing the way we want to play or can play, there are not many teams that are going to beat us, so like our odds that way."

Schneider began the season as the Devils' No. 1 goalie but struggled after returning from a groin/hip injury. He allowed 18 goals on 92 shots during his five games — all losses.

Schneider stopped all 10 shots he faced Saturday and said he hoped that workload would help Monday.

"But it doesn't mean much if you come out and don't play well," Schneider said. "So hopefully I can parlay that into a good start."

He did, stopping 34 of 36 shots, to get the Devils back into the series.

Slap shots

Devils LW Marcus Johansson, who missed the final 35 games of the regular season plus the first two games of this series with a concussion, returned to the lineup. … Also scratched for the Lightning were D Slater Koekkoek, D Jake Dotchin and C Matthew Peca. … It was the first playoff game at the Prudential Center since June 9, 2012, which was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Devils and Kings. The Devils won 2-1, handing the Kings their only road loss in the playoffs. The Kings won the series in six.

Contact Roger Mooney at [email protected] Follow @rogermooney50.

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