Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers during action against...

Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers during action against the Winnipeg Jets. (Jan. 24, 2012) Credit: Errol Anderson

RALEIGH---Rangers captain Ryan Callahan missed his first game of the year tonight with a bruised and swollen right foot, won’t play tomorrow and could miss the Bruins game on Sunday.

The loss of Callahan, who has 25 goals, second-highest on the team, and 22 assists, and flew here with the team using crutches and wearing a boot, puts the Rangers at a severe disadvantage.

Callahan was injured with about 5:30 left in the second period against the Devils when Ilya Kovalchuk’s wrister from above the left circle hit him on the inside of the right foot, he told MSG Network tonight, and is waiting for the swelling to subside.

“Each day it's getting better,” he said. “ It's just a matter I think of getting the swelling down and getting a little mobility back into it. It's day to day right now. Each morning I wake up and it's feeling a little bit better. So hopefully pretty quickly I'll be back…You always get nervous and especially with what happened last year late in the season (when he broke his right ankle on a Zdeno Chara shot. But x-rays were fine and everything like that, so it's just a matter of getting the swelling down and then getting back on it.”

Callahan played seven shifts in the third period, when he scored an empty-net goal with 1:06 left. Callahan had two goals and an assist in the previous two games against Carolina, and 11 points in the last 10 games.

“We’ll miss him,” said coach John Tortorella.

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