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Callahan in, Asham starts vs. Kings

Ryan Callahan of the Rangers skates against the

Ryan Callahan of the Rangers skates against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. (April 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Finally, Game 2 at the Staples Center tonight.

Captain Ryan Callahan, out since May following labrum surgery on his left shoulder, pulls on the No. 24 jersey. Expect to see him on the third line, power play and penalty kill.

"I’ve made predictions before that I was going to ease somebody in, and once the game was there and if the guy looks good….", Vigneault said. "In his case and in Step’s case (it'll be Derek Stepan's 2nd game after missing camp), we’re going to have to play them into shape. Not that they’re not in condition, but it’s a different form of condition, the practice and the work off the ice is not playing. It's totally different in intensity. There’s two points at stake."

Arron Asham, 35, who told us Sunday that he was "fighting for his life" will debut on the fourth line with Dom Moore and Derek Dorsett.

Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed four goals in Phoenix, is back in the net and, who knows, may well be there again Tuesday in San Jose in the the first of 13 back-to-backs.

Meanwhile, J.T. Miller, who was sent to Hartford, had two goals and an assist in his first contest.

And the coaching staff's evaluations continue.

"Our assessment of our players is really limited," Vigneault said. "We had those four (preseason) games in five nights where we played a lot of different players; we played one game, we’ve had three days in between, now we’re going to play four games in six nights, now we’re going to get into hockey mode."

On Miller, who will surely be back, along with Chris Kreider this season, it was a front-office call.

"In talking with both Glen and Jeff about our numbers situation, him being such a young player, he needed to play, and having two extra forwards didn’t make a lot of sense," Vigneault said. "We’re going to play LA and San Jose, two big teams, so I knew I was going to put Arron in the lineup sooner rather than later, but we just felt that we needed to send him to Hartford, and he's had a real good start. At the start, veteran guys will get a longer look maybe a longer opportunity; with Ryan coming back 13 healthy forwards, not 14, we wanted the kid to play, and cap-wise it's the right decision."

More coming up later from the rink.

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