Things were going to change with Ryan Callahan's absence.

Without the strongest embodiment of the Rangers' identity, the epitome of everything the team represents, the Blueshirts looked lifeless and the crowd mirrored its energy in last night's 3-0 loss to the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

Without their captain, who is out 10-14 days after partially dislocating his left shoulder in Tuesday's win over the Flyers, the Rangers looked different — and they felt different, too.

"Obviously he brings it every night and that's why he wears the 'C' on his jersey," defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "Obviously we miss him. He's a big-time leader, big-time player, he leads by example all over the ice, but injuries are part of the game. We have veterans and other guys who've seen how he plays. How we want to play as a team doesn't change because he's out of the lineup."

The mentality may be a constant, but the execution slipped.

Coach John Tortorella had said recently he was pleased with the strides the team had made on the power play, but the Rangers showed regression with a man-advantage, unable to provide an adequate replacement for Callahan's work in front of the net.

Callahan, who has scored two of the team's three power play goals this season, including the deciding goal on Tuesday, was sorely missed as the Rangers failed to capitalize on four opportunities last night and totaled only five shots in just over seven minutes while working 5-on-4.

The Rangers have now scored on 3-of-28 (10.7 percent) power plays this season, ranking 27th in the league.

"He's a big part of our team, there's no question about that, but we have big bodies in front of the net," Dan Girardi said. "We got [Taylor] Pyatt there, we can put [Brian] Boyle there. I don't think it matters who is in front, we just have to shoot the puck and make a couple plays and open up a lane and get the puck to the net."