Ryan Callahan has fit right in with Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan celebrates Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan celebrates his goal with teammate Sami Salo, during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo Credit: AP / Adrian Wyld

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TAMPA, Fla. - Ryan Callahan didn't need to alter his game after the blockbuster deal that sent him from the Rangers to the Lightning on March 5.

The Rangers also dealt a 2014 second-round pick (it becomes a first-round pick if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference finals) and a 2015 first-round pick for Martin St. Louis.

Callahan's versatility and willingness to do what is needed were the main reasons he was named Rangers captain before the 2011-12 season. So the only big adjustments were a new city and a new team for a guy once thought to be a lifelong Ranger.

"You just play the way you know you can play," Callahan told Newsday before scoring twice in the Lightning's 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders Thursday night. "There's no added pressure on you. You know they brought you here for a reason, so just go out and be the same player you've been."

Callahan's third-period goal sent the game into overtime Thursday night. That gave him four goals and four assists in 11 games with the Lightning, which has earned at least a point in all but one game since Callahan arrived.

"By no means am I saying it's all because of Ryan Callahan," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But he's a piece of the puzzle. He brings another element to us and he's a big part of our success."

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The deadline-day swap of captains was a shock for the Rochester native and longtime Rangers fan favorite.

"The first game, the first week, that stuff was definitely a whirlwind," Callahan said. "This is my first time in a new organization, so you just have to get used to doing things a little differently. But my family's down here now, so I'm settling in."

And the Rangers? "I have great friends there. I grew up in that organization," he said. "I still talk with those guys all the time. That's never going to change."

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