OTTAWA – Ryan Callahan didn’t play a lot for Team USA during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but he played too much Tuesday as far as the Ottawa Senators were concerned.
Callahan scored twice and teammate Sean Avery had a goal and an assist as the New York Rangers defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1.
Brandon Dubinsky had the other goal for the Rangers (29-27-7), who got a 24-save performance from Henrik Lundqvist.
Milan Michalek had the lone goal for the Senators (36-24-4), who have now lost two of their last three games after winning 12 of their previous 13. Brain Elliott started in goal for the Senators but was replaced late in the second period by Pascal Leclaire after the Rangers’ fourth goal. Leclaire faced nine third-period shots and turned them all aside.
The game was the first for both clubs in more than two weeks following the Olympic break, and the rust showed on both sides.
Callahan was given only 56 minutes of ice time by American coach Ron Wilson during the games, but he was on the ice for more than 19 minutes Tuesday.
“I told Ronny (Wilson) to play him more in the Olympics,” Rangers coach John Tortorella joked following the game. “He contributes. I thought all the lines contributed and it’s one game after the break and I thought we played a really good road game. Now we have to continue to stay within ourselves and try and stay focused and get some points.”
The Senators led 1-0 after the first period on Michalek’s goal following a terrific pass from Jason Spezza, but the second period was all New York.
Callahan scored just 22 seconds into the period to tie the game 1-1. His hard shot beat Elliott and then got stuck between the top frame of the goal and the netting.
Then the Rangers shocked the Senators and the 18,254 in attendance late in the period by scoring three goals in two minutes and two seconds to take a 4-1 lead and chase Elliott from the net after just 16 shots.
“There were some turnovers and they were coming back the other way and driving the net, a couple bounces and some nice plays and it was in the back of our net a number of times,” Senators forward Mike Fisher said. “We’ve got to be better mentally and not let that happen again.”
Dubinsky gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead at 15:44 as he fired a shot from inside the right faceoff circle that beat Elliott.
Just over a minute later, Avery crashed the net and redirected a pass from Enver Lisin for a 3-1 lead and Callahan scored his second of the game 50 seconds after that with a backhand shot off a rebound that seemed to get Elliott all twisted up.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was happy with the way his team came out of the gate, but less enthused on how they ran the race and crossed the finish line.
“The first period we played pretty good. We still turned the puck over – both teams did. We were able to generate some chances and obviously get the lead,” he said. “Second and third period we didn’t do a good job getting the puck out of our end and we didn’t establish really any forecheck. Had a couple of good shifts and we could have taken the lead, but the second and third period wasn’t good enough obviously to win in this league.”
Notes: The Senators acquired defenceman Andy Sutton from the New York Islanders Tuesday for a second-round pick in 2010…Senators defenceman Chris Campoli missed his third game with a knee injury while forward Nick Foligno missed his eighth game with a broken leg. Defenceman Erik Karlsson returned after missing five games with a shoulder injury…Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto and forward Marian Gaborik each missed their second game due to injury…Rangers goalie led all goaltenders at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver in goals against average (1.34) and shutouts (two) for Sweden.