The New York Rangers will try to stretch their winning streak to three straight games on Thursday night, but will have to do so without captain Ryan Callahan as they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Callahan had the eventual game-winner on Tuesday in a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, but exited the game 4:42 into the third period with a shoulder injury sustained while in a scrum with the Flyers' Max Talbot. The two were tangled and fell to the ice, with Talbot immediately letting go of the Ranger forward and motioning for trainers. Callahan then got up and skated off the ice, favoring his left shoulder.
The loss of Callahan, who has two goals in six games, dampened New York winning back-to-back games for the first time this season as the club evened its season record at 3-3-0.
The extent of Callahan's injury was not known after the game but an MRI on Wednesday reveled that the injury was not a major one and will keep him out for the next 10-to-14 days.
It could have been worse for the Rangers in this shortened season as a player like Callahan would be hard to replace for a longer period.
"I don't think you fill his role," Rangers coach John Tortorella said on Wednesday. "I felt that in the third period (Tuesday night) when we were protecting the lead. That's a very big part of his game, so it comes through the team. Every team goes through the injuries and just playing that much better in the situations that he's been put in throughout his career, it needs to be done as a group."
Michael Del Zotto had the other goal versus the Flyers and Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves, coming up with some big stops in the third period as New York found itself shorthanded three times due to penalties.
"Obviously the last ten minutes of the game we kept taking penalties. Our guys stepped up and played really well in front," Lundqvist said.
The Rangers conclude a three-game homestand against a Penguins club that has lost three of its last four. That includes Tuesday against the New York Islanders as Pittsburgh did not get any offense until late in a 4-1 defeat.
Pascal Dupuis scored with just over a minute to play as Pittsburgh went 0- for-3 on the power play, failing to score on a five-minute man advantage after the Islanders' Colin McDonald was called for boarding.
"There's no real excuse," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said of his team's power play. "We're not executing well. If we're not going to score, we've got to at least get momentum. We weren't able to do that."
Marc-Andre Fleury was charged with all four goals on 17 shots before being pulled in favor of Tomas Vokoun to start the third. Vokoun stopped all seven shots he faced in relief.
The Penguins' 1-3 skid comes after it opened the season with back-to-back road wins over the Flyers and Rangers. They won their fifth straight over the Blueshirts with a 6-3 road win on Jan. 20.
James Neal scored twice, Evgeni Malkin had three assists and Vokoun made 31 saves in his Pens debut.
Rick Nash recorded his first goal as a Ranger, Callahan also lit the lamp and Lundqvist was chased after giving up four goals on 18 shots. Backup Martin Biron stopped all but one of the 20 shots he faced in relief.
The Rangers have lost three straight and eight of their last 10 at home to the Penguins.