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Ryan Callahan absence bad news for Lightning (w/video)

Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan (24) and Jonathan Drouin take a break during Game 4 against the Canadiens. Callahan sat out Game 6.
Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan (24) and Jonathan Drouin take a break during Game 4 against the Canadiens. Callahan sat out Game 6.
Published May 13, 2015

TAMPA — Coach Jon Cooper said when the Lightning's head athletic trainer calls him late in the afternoon, it's typically a bad sign.

"There's absolutely nothing good coming from that phone call," Cooper said.

That was the case Monday around dinnertime when Cooper found out RW Ryan Callahan needed an emergency appendectomy. It was a big blow heading into Tuesday's Game 6 against the Canadiens.

But while Callahan did not play, Cooper seems optimistic he'll be out days and not weeks. Callahan was released from the hospital Tuesday morning and was feeling well, Cooper said.

"I think it's something that just because of the way medical practices are today, it's much easier to come back from than I think in the past," he said. "You've got to give a lot of credit to our docs and stuff; we got to it before anything really bad (happened). The word 'ruptured' could have happened."

There have been precedents of players returning quickly from an appendectomy, with Red Wings D Jonathan Ericsson back three days later in the 2009 playoffs.

"I think it's going to be a pain-tolerance thing," Cooper said.

Callahan, 30, hasn't scored a goal in 12 postseason games, but he provides a veteran presence and is a player Cooper trusts in any situation.

"He's a leader," Cooper said. "He plays with all those things that help you win. You win with guys like Ryan Callahan."

STEPPING IN: While many thought rookie LW Jonathan Drouin would step in for the injured Callahan, rookie C Jonathan Marchessault got the unexpected call to make his playoff debut and got power-play action in his 11:15 of ice time.

Marchessault, 24, who had four games of NHL experience, was called up from AHL Syracuse a couple of weeks ago with the other "Black Aces." He said he tried to keep things simple because he hadn't played a game of any sort in about 10 days and had to adjust to playoff hockey.

"The guys are really good in the NHL," Marchessault said after his NHL playoff debut. "I think it makes it easier for that."

That Cooper went with Marchessault over Drouin, who played 70 games in the regular season, is perhaps telling about how he feels about the No. 3 overall pick in 2013. Cooper said he went with the lineup that gave the team "the best chance to win."

ICE CHIPS: The Lightning outshot Montreal 28-19, the first time Tampa Bay has had more shots in this series. The Canadiens' 19 shots were their fewest of the postseason. … C Vladislav Namestnikov was scratched as the Lightning went with seven defensemen for the second straight game, with D Nikita Nesterov back in. D Mark Barberio was scratched again.

Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.