Callahan plays hero as Lightning get past Avalanche in shootout


The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t have much time to dwell on giving up the tying goal late in the third period.

Ryan Callahan scored in regulation and got the decisive goal in the shootout to lift Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, moving the Lightning back into first place in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Bishop made two big stops in the shootout and finished with 40 saves as Tampa Bay moved one point ahead of the Metropolitan Division-leading New York Islanders atop the East.

Ryan O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon scored for the Avalanche, and Semyon Varlamov had 29 saves. MacKinnon’s goal tied the score with 6.8 seconds remaining.

"You’ve got to turn the page real quick," Bishop said. "I thought we did a good job in overtime."

Anton Stralman also scored in regulation.

Nikita Kucherov put the Lightning ahead in the first round of the shootout and Matt Duchene tied it for Colorado in the second round. Callahan then got the winner in the third round.

"It’s tough, you know, because we killed some late penalties," Callahan said. "You know, they end up getting one in with 6 seconds left, and we had to regroup and ready for overtime right away. Then we had another huge kill at the end of overtime and end up winning the shootout, so we did a good job to regroup after that late goal."

Stralman put the Lightning ahead 2-1 with his third goal of the season at 4:08 of the third period thanks to a batted down pass from Valtteri Filppula.

The Lightning took the early lead on Callahan’s 15th goal of the season on a power play just 1:58 into the game.

"That’s the way it goes (losing in a shootout)," Varlamov said. "They scored goals and we didn’t score enough until very late. . It was a pretty good move (by Callahan), and they scored in the shootout."

O’Reilly tied it 51 seconds into the second period.

The Avalanche, outshot 15-5 in the opening period, turned the tables on the Lightning in the second with 20-9 edge.

"(Bishop) got us the two points," Callahan said. "He was unbelievable out there, especially in overtime. It’s impressive because he was definitely our best player tonight."

On MacKinnon’s late goal, the Avalanche used six skaters for nearly 2 minutes and had a flurry of chances as the Lightning couldn’t clear the puck.

The Avalanche have won eight of the past 11 meetings with the Lightning and are 12-5-1 in the past 18 matchups.

NOTES: Lightning D Victor Hedman returned to action after missing the past two games with an undisclosed lower body injury. … Tampa Bay called up D Luke Witkowski from Syracuse of the AHL on Friday. … Lightning rookie LW Jonathan Drouin will return to the lineup Saturday after being scratched Thursday. … Following Saturday’s game, Lighting assistant coach Steve Thomas was granted a temporary leave of absence from the team to attend to a personal matter. . Lightning C Steven Stamkos, who tied for the league-high 26 goals, saw a four-game goal streak snapped.