NEW YORK -- Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan scored four goals in three games against the New York Rangers during the regular season, but made less of an impact in a 2-1 loss in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Then again, being on the ice five days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy was an achievement in itself.
Callahan, who missed the series-clinching win in Game 6 of the second round against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday after having the operation the night before, played 14:46 in Game 1. He was credited with one shot attempt, two hits and one blocked shot.
"It was good," Callahan said when asked about his performance. "I felt good."
Callahan skated mostly on a line with Cedric Paquette and Jonathan Marchessault.
Callahan was the Rangers' captain until he was traded to Tampa Bay for Martin St. Louis in March 2014. He said getting a chance to play in New York during the regular season made his first playoff game as an opposing player at Madison Square Garden much less nerve-wracking.
"I think the emotions were the first time I returned here," he said. "Now it was more about trying to get a win in the Eastern Conference Finals than coming into MSG."
He also knows the Lightning will have to step up their play to even the best-of-7 series. Game 2 is Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).
"It's two good teams, you can see that," Callahan said. "But we can be better. We know that. There's things we need to correct and we have to do that heading into Game 2."
Goalie Ben Bishop, who made 28 saves, said Callahan is an important part of the team.
"He's obviously a great player, a great leader on and off the ice," Bishop said. "Whenever he is in the lineup, your team is better."