BRANDON — Lightning veteran wing Ryan Callahan had an emergency appendectomy Monday night, and his return date to the team is undetermined.
Callahan, 30, will miss tonight's Game 6 against the Canadiens, a big blow as Tampa Bay tries to close out its best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal. Callahan didn't practice Monday, with the team saying he first felt abdominal pain in the afternoon. He was admitted to Tampa General Hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. Callahan was in the emergency room by 9 p.m., out by 10 and in stable condition, team spokesman Bill Wickett said.
On a young team, Callahan is a key leader. He had three assists in 12 games this postseason, mostly playing on the top line with Steven Stamkos. Callahan's absence means touted rookie Jonathan Drouin, often a healthy scratch in these playoffs, could get an opportunity. Forwards Mike Angelidis and Jonathan Marchessault also practiced.
Callahan signed a six-year, $34.8 million deal last summer.
More quantity: When coach Jon Cooper reviewed Tampa Bay's lack of offense in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Montreal, he wasn't too concerned with the quality of looks.
"My problem is, we don't have enough quantity," Cooper said. "We need to get more. We can't just sit here and rely on 6-8 chances a game, of which only three are Grade As. We're a much better team than that. We've proven that before."
The Canadiens have outshot the Lightning every game in the series, and by a combined 173-127.
NO FEUD: C Tyler Johnson ended the Game 5 loss in an intense scrum with forward Max Pacioretty, both getting 10-minute misconducts. But Johnson respects Pacioretty's competitiveness.
"I love it," Johnson said. "He's a great player, he's fun to play against, fun to watch. He's competitive, he has that fire, like playing against a guy like that, and Montreal has a lot of them."
Pacioretty was equally complimentary of Johnson and said stopping him and his line is critical for Montreal.
"That's one of the best lines in the league," Pacioretty said. "He's one of the best players in the league. My job on my line is to win that five-on-five battle. I'm trying to do everything I can to do that."
There's no feud, either, between G Ben Bishop and D Matt Carle, despite the upset look Bishop appeared to give his teammate after Carle screened him during Montreal's winning goal in Game 5.
"There's no hard feelings," Carle said. "Understand that's part of the game sometimes."
DEJA VU: D Anton Stralman watched the third period of the Rangers' 4-3 win over the Capitals on Sunday night, not surprised his former New York teammates rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to force a Game 7 Wednesday night. Stralman was part of the Rangers team last season that overcame a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Penguins in their run to the Stanley Cup final. "I still think they're going to pull it off — it's what they do," Stralman said. "Hopefully we'll see each other in the conference final."
REST DAY: Centers Stamkos and Brian Boyle rested and did not practice. Cooper said not to read into their days off and said they will be available tonight. In addition to Angelidis and Marchessault, D Luke Witkowski filled in during the main practice.