"Good to have our captain back," said Alain Vigneault, after Ryan Callahan delivered a check to Robyn Regehr on his first shift after shoulder surgery in May. "It was my first time seeing him live, being with him as a coach; he brings a lot to the table, poise with the puck, competitive nature when he doesn’t have it, finishes every check. For a player who’s not big in size, he certainly plays a big game."
And he plays hurt.
Early in the second period, Callahan collided shoulder-to-shoulder with Anze Koptiar, fell to the ice, mouth bleeding. He missed the rest of the period for dental work and sported a cut just under his lip. “It was accidental, I think he was following through, I went to hit him, caught his stick first…” Callahan ended up playing just 11:16 total, with four hits and four missed shots.
Beyond Callahan, Vigneault was pleased by the overall effort.
“We were making the plays you needed to make with the puck, short little passes, off the glass….I felt that in the second period, we made a lot of right plays, I really like the way we responded after they scored, we kept pushing the pace…Our guys did a good job of pressuring their defense, that led to a couple Grade-A scoring opportunities.
Among the other players he singled out: Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, and Rick Nash, who had six shots on goal, three misses and one block, and two assists. "What I liked about his game was the turnovers he was able to create, and that line (with Stepan and Richards), the amount of time they spent in their end. I thought they played well at both ends of the rink."