BY: John Mamola

It was less than two months ago that Tampa Bay Lighting forward Ryan Callahan found himself in very public contract negotiations with the New York Rangers right as the NHL trade deadline was rapidly approaching.  Today, Callahan is a member of the playoff bound Lightning squad and has found a new home as a gritty, tough player for a Bolts team which lacks a strong physical game with the Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin on Wednesday.

Since being traded Callahan has performed well with eleven points in twenty games while the man he was traded for, Martin St. Louis, has accumulated only eight points in twenty games with the Rangers.

Callahan still remains a unrestricted free agent after the season, but the Lightning have expressed interest in bringing Callahan back after the conclusion of the season.  So while the Lightning talks with Callahan will wait till after the playoffs, ESPN NHL writer Scott Burnside says Bolts fans should expect big things from Callahan in the post season.

"Having watched the Rangers in 2012 go to an Eastern Conference Final, and covering the Olympics the last two times.  Ryan Callahan is a playoff performer and he will be someone that the Tampa fans are going to love in the coming weeks" said Burnside.

Burnside believes the key to beating Montreal Canadiens is to take as many shots as possible on Habs' goal tender Carey Price, and expects the Bolts to win the series in seven games.

The Lightning will host the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the NHL playoffs beginning on Wednesday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.





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