Ryan Callahan returns for Rangers

Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers

Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrates his shorthanded goal at 3:11 of the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. (April 1, 2013) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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PITTSBURGH -- Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, who missed nine games while recovering from a knee sprain, returned to the lineup Friday night against the Penguins.

Callahan, who started on the right side of Derick Brassard -- back at center from the wing -- and Benoit Pouliot, said he took a little contact in practice Thursday. "That was kind of the last hurdle to make sure I was OK," he said.

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The Rochester native -- who was named to the U.S. Olympic team Wednesday -- was projected to be out a minimum of four weeks, so he is a bit ahead of schedule, but he deemed himself 100 percent. "It's hard to tell when it's that far out, and rehab went like it's supposed to," he said.

Callahan has seven goals and six assists in 24 games.

With Callahan, who suffered the injury Dec. 10 in Nashville, back in the lineup, J.T. Miller was a healthy scratch. Miller had played the previous six games since being summoned from the AHL and has one goal. Coach Alain Vigneault said Miller had played well, but "it's a numbers game."

Vigneault had the same six defensemen dressed, which meant that rookie Conor Allen played his third NHL game and Michael Del Zotto and Justin Falk were scratched.

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Pyatt gets a chanceTaylor Pyatt, who was waived by the Rangers and claimed by the Penguins on Thursday, will play on a checking line with Joe Vitale and Craig Adams. Pyatt, who could not crack the Rangers' lineup even when he had a chance with other forwards injured, played only 22 games this season. He said he was pleased with being claimed and given a fresh start. "It's better than the alternative,'' he said, "which would have been the AHL."

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