Ryan Callahan has fit right in with Lightning
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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."
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."