The Lightning are looking for better road play after capping a perfect home stand.
Getting Ryan Callahan going could be the key to accomplishing that.
Callahan will look to help visiting Tampa Bay to a fourth straight victory on Wednesday night against the Sabres.
The Lightning (23-11-4) concluded an undefeated three-game home stand Monday with a 3–2 win over the Maple Leafs despite falling behind 2–0 in the first eight minutes of the game. Callahan scored in the second period to snap the Tampa Bay’s five-game power-play drought, during which the Lightning went 0 for 21. Steven Stamkos scored the game-winner in the third period with his 20th goal, and Tampa improved to 19-1-0 when it scores at least three.
With the goal, Stamkos avoided going a season-worst four straight games without scoring.
“[Stamkos] had some really good looks that he missed, and, sure enough, the one he gets is off a great deflection,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told the team’s official website. “It's just a matter of time with him. You can’t keep goal scorers down. They eventually get out of whatever’s happening to them. Hopefully, this will be a breakthrough for him because I thought he had a really strong game.”
Callahan, who also assisted on Valtteri Filppula’s second-period goal, had gone 13 games without a scoring. Since Callahan was acquired from the Rangers last March, Tampa Bay is 15-0-0 when he scores a goal.
“I said something to him in practice [on Monday] too,” goaltender Ben Bishop said. “I told him, ‘Why don't you score every game?’"
Callahan, fourth on the team with 12 goals, hasn’t found the back of the net in his last nine road games, a span in which Tampa Bay has gone 2-5-2. Tampa Bay, which is playing their first of four straight road games, has scored two goals or fewer seven times in that stretch, while going 2 for 31 on the power play.
The Lightning are 1-3-2 in their last five road games, the first of which was a 2–1 shootout loss in Buffalo on Dec. 2. Stamkos and Callahan each had just one shot in the game. Two days later in Tampa, however, they outshot the Sabres 35–13 in a 5–0 victory, with Stamkos getting a goal and two assists.
Buffalo (14-20-3), despite being last in the Atlantic Division, has defended its home ice well over the last 6 1/2 weeks, going 9-2-0 since Nov. 15. But in losing five of their last six overall, the Sabres have surrendered 28 goals. Tyler Ennis, who leads Buffalo with 23 points, has just one in that stretch. He also has just one point in his last nine games against the Lightning.
The Sabres, who led 2–1 in the second period of Monday's 5–2 road loss to the Senators, were outshot 9–2 in the final period.
“We played well until the third period when they took it to us,” Ennis said. “I don’t know if we were tired, but they deserved to win. We have to get more than two shots, especially when the game is on the line.”
The defeat continued a trend of late collapses; Buffalo has given up two or more third-period goals in four of their last five defeats. The Sabres allowed four goals in the third period of a 6–3 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit on Dec. 23, and have been outscored by 22 goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation this season.
Bishop, whose lone shutout of 2014–15 came against Buffalo, has won five straight starts versus the Sabres, with a 1.76 goals-against average.