The Rangers will have a couple of new bodies in the lineup tonight when they take on the Kings in Los Angeles.
First and foremost, tonight will mark the return of captain Ryan Callahan, who’s been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and missed Thursday’s season-opening 4-1 loss to the Coyotes in Phoenix.
Also making his season debut at the Staples Center will be tough winger Arron Asham, who will replace rookie Jesper Fast, according to the New York Daily News.
There’s good reason for Asham’s inclusion.
“We’re playing against one of the biggest teams in the NHL (on Monday), Stanley Cup champions two years ago, a team that rolls four lines, has got great lines up front,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said yesterday. “They use their size, and they’ve got size on defense.”
Vigneault knows all about the Kings, the same team that eliminated the Canucks in 2012 when he was still the coach in Vancouver.
By the way, tonight will be the second game of the Rangers’ daunting nine-game road trip to start the season while their home rink, Madison Square Garden, undergoes renovations. After tonight, they play tomorrow in San Jose, Thursday in Anaheim and Saturday in St. Louis. That’s four games in six nights against teams that made the playoffs last season in the Western Conference. And after that there are still four away games left on the trip, in Washington, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Detroit.