Ryan Callahan’s voice is almost raspy and ragged by the time he sits down at his locker, his skates still on, his undershirt soaked through, and finally when he looks up on this Tuesday night, he is wearing a shallow smile, one that is complicated by a mix of joy and restraint.

The Rangers captain had just scored two goals and added an assist in a 5-1 route of the Avalanche, a game during which the Garden faithful chanted his name, hoping all along their collective voice might be able to force a contract to be signed so the next time they see Callahan, he won’t be in the road jersey of Buffalo or Los Angeles or some other far-off place.

The pending unrestricted free agent, the one being dangled around the league as trade bait as the Olympic break approaches this Friday, is asked about his numerous chances for a hat trick, and the man who is seemingly made of rapid-fire and good-natured clichés only can roll his eyes and let out the smallest of laughs.

“I had enough opportunities to get it,” he said, “but it was a good game, a good two points.”

It was a great shot for Callahan in his negotiations with general manager Glen Sather, as the two sides are at an impasse. The 28-year-old winger netted two goals in the opening 17:35, a first period when the Rangers outshot the young Avalanche, 20-4, and held a dominating 2-0 lead en route to their fourth win a row and seventh in their past nine.

When Callahan was asked if his performance was because he was able to block out the contract stalemate or because he used it as motivation, he let the smallest bit of truth shine through.