Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Peca continues to make his case to stay

TAMPA — One game after earning his first NHL point with a nifty pass to set up an Alex Killorn goal, Matthew Peca found the net himself Tuesday, whistling a shot past Jets G Connor Hellebuyck from the right circle for his first NHL goal.

"Every game he plays he's making it tougher to send him down when guys come back," coach Jon Cooper said after the Lightning's 6-4 loss.

Peca's goal at 3:43 of the second period briefly tied it at 1.

"It was a good breakout, a good pass by (Vladislav Namestnikov)," Peca said. "I didn't think I'd have that much room. I told myself if I had that much space I'd just shoot it. That was mindset going in the entire time, constant daylight on the left side. It all worked out."

The Jets, though, scored the first of their three second-period goals less than a minute after Peca scored.

"It was good at the time," he said, "but right after the goal it seemed like the beginning of why we lost. A little bit frustrating."

CALLAHAN RETURNS: The biggest ovation during the pregame introductions was reserved for F Ryan Callahan, who played his first game since Nov. 27.

"It's huge for our team," Killorn said. "He's a guy we look to for that competitive edge."

"You miss him sacrificing his body, putting it on the line every opportunity, whether it be a hit or blocked shot," Tyler Johnson added. "That really rubs off on everybody. You see that he's laying everything on the line, so you need to do it as well."

Callahan missed 15 games because of pain in his surgically repaired hip.

"It felt like I missed 15 games," Callahan said. "For myself, I'll chalk it up as the first one back. I got to be better than I was tonight, hopefully get that one out of the way and now I can move forward."

Callahan received 11 minutes, 20 seconds of ice time spread over 18 shifts. He was minus-2.

He said he returns without restrictions, meaning he can forecheck and throw his body around on the penalty kill.

"It's the only way I'm going to come back is if I'm able to do that," Callahan said. "Everything feels good. Nothing is limiting me, so I should be able to play the way I want to."

WELCOME KID: LW Adam Erne hopped over the boards at 2:27 of the first period, stepping on the ice for the first time as an NHL player.

"I feel I'm ready," he said before the game with the Jets.

Erne played 17 shifts and saw time on the power play.

The Lightning's second pick (33rd overall) in the 2013 draft, Erne was recalled Sunday because of the lower body injury to C Brian Boyle. Cooper said he wasn't comfortable saying Boyle could return Thursday against visiting Nashville.

PACQUETTE UPDATE: C Cedric Paquette (lower body) skated Tuesday for the first time in a week and said he is hoping to play Thursday. He missed his sixth game Tuesday.

Lightning's Peca continues to make his case to stay 01/03/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jerseys worn by Tim Tebow fans commemorate the various phases of his athletic career


    Charles Bottoms, right, with his wife, Annie, wore the Tim Tebow Broncos jersey to Steinbrenner Field "only because I didn't want to wear my good (signed Gators) Tebow one." [RYAN ROMANO | Times]
  2. Rays morning after: 5 mistakes that led to loss to Blue Jays


    We've already documented elsewhere what the Rays didn't do, how they failed to take advantage of a prime opportunity to win Wednesday's game, getting just one run after loading the bases in the seventh with one out and three of …

    Jake Faria make too many mistakes, the failure to execute costing him repeatedly.
  3. Rays have their chances, but end up with another loss (w/video)

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The litany of games the Rays have given away this season is long enough, arguably too lengthy. So the only way to get to the postseason is make up for some of those losses by grabbing some wins when the opportunity is presented, especially at this time of year when the margin is diminished and the stakes …

    Associated Press
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 51/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  5. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) takes a moment on the mound in the second inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, August 6, 2017.