Nice post-season debut for Callahan
DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
|Rangers forward Ryan Callahan hits the boards as Senators forward Jason Spezza grabs the puck during Game 1 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., April 12, 2012. (RAY STUBBLEBINE/Reuters)
Ryan Callahan showed up to play Thursday in his first post-season game as the New York Rangers’ captain.
Callahan scored the Rangers’ opening goal of and took a run at everyone in his vicinity, registering a game-high seven hits. He also drew a penalty and had a huge blocked shot late in the game as Rangers took the series lead with a 4-2 win.
Callahan, 27, who is in his sixth year with the Rangers, was named the 26th captain in club history at the start of the season.
The Rochester, N.Y., product was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round — 127th overall — in the 2004 NHL entry draft. He finished third in team scoring with 54 points in 76 games during the regular season.
Callahan had six career playoff goals heading into the game.
Craig Anderson went into last night’s playoff game against the Rangers with a perfect 6-0 career record at Madison Square Garden.
The Ottawa Senators goaltender was hoping to extend it, but did not get much help in front of him as he conceded four goals on 31 shots in the loss.
Outside of Callahan’s opening goal, Anderson did not have much of a chance on the next three as Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle and Brad Richards were left unattended at the front of the net.
Richard’s goal should be particularly disturbing to the Senators as the Rangers centre skated unmolested to the front of the net before depositing a pass from Carl Hagelin who had stolen the puck behind the net.
COME ON REF
The questionable calls continued on Thursday, as the Phoenix Coyotes may have gotten away with one in the opening game of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Coyotes appeared to have too many men on the ice just prior to Antoine Vermette’s go-ahead goal in the second period.
Trapped in their own zone, the Blackhawks rimmed the puck around the boards where it was played in front of the Coyotes bench as players were changing. There appeared to be seven Coyotes on the ice at the time and the play should have been blown dead.
BUCKING THE TREND
The St. Louis Blues owned the San Jose Sharks during the regular season and they were attempting to continue the trend in their opening game of the playoffs.
Yet, despite the Blues having swept the four-game regular-season series between the teams for the first time since the 1994-95 season, it was the Sharks who took the opening encounter as Martin Havlat scored a pair of goals including the overtime winner.
The Sharks had been blanked in both regular-season games in St. Louis as Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott each registered shutouts.
With Elliott out injured, Halak got the call in Game 1 of the series and appeared to be on his way to another regulation victory before the Sharks tied the game with just over five minutes left in the third period.
Havlat then scored the overtime winner to give the Sharks the victory and home ice advantage through the rest of the series.
WILD AT HEART
It must have been tough night to watch the playoffs for Minnesota Wild fans. Gaborik scored the New York Rangers’ second goal against the Ottawa Senators, then a few minutes later, Martin Havlat tipped a shot past Halak in St. Louis to give the San Jose Sharks a 1-0 lead.
Havlat then went on to score the overtime winner for the Sharks giving them the series lead. Gaborik was a member of the Wild for seven seasons, while Havlat spent two years in Minnesota before being dealt to the Sharks.
Former Wild players Brian Rolston and Benoit Pouliot also assisted on Chris Kelly’s overtime winner for the Boston Bruin against the Washington Capitals.
The Wild have missed the playoffs in the last four seasons.
TIME TO REGROUP
John Tortorella had seen enough in the second period and decided to call a timeout as the Senators were taking the play to the Rangers trailing 1-0. The move paid off as the Rangers responded immediately and nearly doubled their lead.
The Rangers were eventually able to wrestle momentum back from the Senators and went on to score a pair of goals in the period to take a 3-0 lead heading into the third.
The night before Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette called a timeout when his team was being overrun by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers came back from three goals down to win the contest 4-3 in overtime.