LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Callahan didn't need much of a morning skate in anticipation of his season debut. The New York Rangers captain was among the first off the ice at Staples Center and it's not difficult to imagine he's ready for action.
"I think any first game of the year you're amped up and excited to get out there, but that's something you have to control and I think once I get that first shift or that first hit out of the way then I'll settle in," Callahan said.
Callahan had surgery in May to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder and was not able to play any preseason games. He is expected to be on the third line with Taylor Pyatt and Brian Boyle when the Rangers play the Los Angeles Kings.
It is a rare matchup, the Rangers' first game in L.A. since Feb.2, 2009. The teams last played the 2011-12 season opener in Stockholm, Sweden, in which the Kings spoiled goalie Henrik Lundqvist's home-turf appearance.
Callahan played with Kings captain Dustin Brown in the 2010 Olympics but acknowledges it will take some extra video to get familiar with L.A.
"We know how good of a team they are," Callahan said. "They're two years removed from winning the Stanley Cup, and got a lot of the same players on the same team, so it's one of the top teams in the League, and we're going to have to be ready for them."
The Rangers' epic nine-game road trip did allow for some down time at the Santa Monica Pier last Saturday.
"A very beautiful spot, so it was good spend those couple of days with the guys," Callahan said. "Now it's time to get back to work."
Here is Monday's projected lineup for the Rangers:
Brad Richards – Derek Stepan – Rick Nash
Benoit Pouliot – Derick Brassard – Mats Zuccarello
Taylor Pyatt – Brian Boyle – Ryan Callahan
Derek Dorsett – Dominic Moore – Arron Asham
Michael Del Zotto – Marc Staal
Dan Girardi – Ryan McDonagh
Anton Stralman – John Moore
Scratched: Jesper Fast, Justin Falk
Injured: Carl Hagelin (shoulder)
NOTES: Asham is expected to make his season debut. … Coach Alain Vigneault did not skate with the team and did not speak to the media.