(SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Callahan and the Tampa Bay Lightning will shoot for a season-series sweep of the New York Rangers when the clubs meet for the third time in two weeks in Monday's clash at Madison Square Garden.
The Lightning are 2-0 against New York, and ex-Rangers captain Ryan Callahan provided the offensive spark in both meetings. Callahan, who came to Tampa at least season's trade deadline in exchange for Lightning captain Martin St. Louis, has four goals and an assist in his first two games against his old club.
Callahan made his return to MSG a triumphant one on Nov. 17, posting two goals to help the Bolts record a 5-1 win over the Blueshirts. He then added two goals and a helper in Wednesday's 4-3 victory in Tampa.
St. Louis, the Lightning's all-time leader in points, recorded New York's only goal in the 5-1 rout on Nov. 17 but failed to reach the scoresheet in last week's return to Central Florida. He also is sporting a minus-five rating over this season's two meetings with the Bolts.
New York has rebounded from Wednesday's loss in Tampa, as it swept a weekend home-and-home series with the Philadelphia Flyers. Cam Talbot recorded a shutout in Friday's 3-0 win at Wells Fargo Center and Derick Brassard provided two goals the following day to lead the Rangers to a 5-2 win at MSG.
Brassard's second goal broke a 2-2 tie and was one of three scored by the Rangers in the third period. Henrik Lundqvist returned to the crease after getting Friday off, and New York's No. 1 goaltender posted 21 saves to improve his record this season to 9-6-3.
Jesper Fast netted his first NHL goal and added an assist for the Rangers, who have won four of their last six games with the only losses in that stretch coming against Tampa.
"We're playing the right way and hopefully we're on the right path," said Brassard.
Tampa has won three straight and four of the last five overall meetings in this series and also has claimed two in a row and five of eight in the Big Apple.
The Lighting have played only once since beating New York last week. Tampa earned a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday to complete a three-game homestand with a perfect record.
Jon Cooper's club is 10-2-1 at home this season, but just 6-4-1 as the guest.
Ben Bishop made 26 saves and Tampa Bay scored four unanswered goals to top the visiting Senators. Ottawa grabbed a 1-0 lead with a power-play marker late in the first period, but Callahan would even the score in the second period before the Bolts pulled away in the third.
Alex Killorn scored the eventual game-winner 76 seconds into the third period, and Brenden Morrow and Nikita Kucherov added insurance goals for the Lightning.
Killorn and Callahan each tallied a goal and an assist for the Lightning, while Bishop improved to 14-3-2 this season.
"We've got a pretty dynamic bunch," said Cooper. "When we're pushing the pace, we can get some things done."
Victor Hedman made his return to the lineup for Tampa on Saturday and the defenseman logged 19 minutes, 55 seconds of ice time. He had been sidelined since Oct. 18 with a broken finger.
Lundqvist could start tonight for New York. He is 17-11-6 with a 2.33 goals against average in 34 career games against Tampa. It's uncertain if the Lightning, who also play tomorrow in Buffalo, will go with Bishop or backup Evgeni Nabokov on Monday.
New York are expected to get forward Chris Kreider back tonight after he sat out Friday due to the death of his grandfather. Rangers forward Tanner Glass is expected to miss a third straight game with a case of the mumps and defenseman Dan Boyle is questionable for Monday with flu-like symptoms.