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Posted On Sunday, 02.17.2013 / 11:39 AM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Caps' Green will not play against Rangers Sunday

NEW YORKWashington Capitals defenseman Mike Green will not play against the New York Rangers on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Green left practice early Saturday with a lower-body injury and did not partake in Sunday's optional morning skate. Capitals coach Adam Oates said he doesn't expect Green to miss more than one game and Tom Poti will slot into his spot in the lineup.

"I think he's our best D but will see how it goes," Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. "It's going to hurt us, but we're going to have to different guys on the PP and different guys are going to have more ice time."

Green leads the Capitals in time on ice at 26:33 per game, which is sixth in the NHL, and 4:43 per game of power-play time. He also leads the team's defensemen in scoring with 2 goals and 7 points in 11 games.

---

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Tortorella wants more from Gaborik and Richards

NEW YORK - Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards need to improve their "battle level," according to New York Rangers coach John Tortorella -- hence the reason for moving captain Ryan Callahan onto their line for Thursday night's game against the New York Islanders.

Tortorella was frank about the play of his two of his biggest stars this season, especially the skating of Gaborik.

"He needs to help them get the puck because I don't think those two guys are doing a good enough job getting the puck," Tortorella said. "It certainly doesn't take the onus off of them, but I just want to see what that looks like.

"They need to play better."

Tortorella said he didn't like Callahan with Richards last season, but the two played together for a lengthy stretch in 2011-12. In Gaborik's case, Tortorella wants to see him emulate another speedy winger on his club - Carl Hagelin.

"It's a huge part of his game," Tortorella said of Gaborik's speed. "You look at Hagelin. He's second on our team - we keep this stat offensively and defensively and you have a plus/minus, basically (with scoring chances for and against) - he's second behind [Rick] Nash as far as his plus/minus. Hags is at like plus-27, Nash is at plus-31, and Hags hasn't made a whole lot of passes. I'm not criticizing him -- he's done it with his legs. He creates havoc with his legs.

"I just don't understand why Gabby can't do that. I know they're a little different-type players. But Gabby needs to bring that into his game. And he will."

It should also be noted that Tortorella referred to Derek Stepan as the team's first-line center, and his 25:14 of ice time in Tuesday's 4-3 shootout victory in Boston backs up that sentiment; Richards played 19:19.

Tortorella also said making Chris Kreider a healthy scratch and bringing Brian Boyle back into the lineup after sitting him for three games wasn't because Kreider played poorly, but he hadn't done enough good things of late. Rookie J.T. Miller will be moved to the wing with Boyle centering the third line in an effort to lessen the responsibilities on the 19-year-old in his own zone.

Here's what the Rangers' lines will look like as they go for their fourth win in a row.

Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan

J.T. Miller - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto - Matt Gilroy

Martin Biron

Henrik Lundqvist

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Thursday, 02.14.2013 / 12:09 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Nabokov in net for Isles; Boyle back in for Rangers

NEW YORK -- Evgeni Nabokov will be back between the pipes as the New York Islanders look to snap a five-game losing streak when they visit the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

Nabokov had made seven straight starts before backing up Rick DiPietro, who allowed five goals on 30 shots in a 6-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

Nabokov was in net seven days ago when the Rangers defeated the Islanders 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. He made 21 saves on 24 shots.

The only lineup changes for coach Jack Capuano are the insertion of defenseman Joe Finley in place of Thomas Hickey and a swapping of fourth-line forwards, with Eric Boulton replacing David Ullstrom.

At the Rangers' practice in Greenburgh, N.Y., it appears backup goaltender Martin Biron will make his second start of the season and rookie Chris Kreider will be a healthy scratch.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.10.2013 / 12:30 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Girardi back in Rangers' lineup vs. Lightning

After missing two games with an undisclosed lower-body injury, New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi will return to the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden.

Girardi told reporters following Rangers practice in Greenburgh, N.Y., that he is good to go. He will replace Steve Eminger and return to his spot on the top pairing alongside Ryan McDonagh.

Brian Boyle and Stu Bickel stayed on the ice after practice and will join Eminger as healthy scratches.

Henrik Lundqvist was the first goaltender to leave the ice, a sure sign he will make his 10th start in 11 games. Backup Martin Biron's only start of the season came against the Lightning on Feb. 2, when he made 30 saves in a 3-2 victory.

On the Lightning side of gameday activities, they arrived at their team hotel late Saturday night after taking a bus from Boston following the cancellation of their game against the Bruins. They did not have a morning skate -- the New York Knicks are hosting the Los Angeles Clippers this afternoon -- but held a team meeting at their hotel.

Here are the projected lineups for Sunday's game, although the Lightning lines and d-pairs are pure guesswork, as they dressed seven defensemen against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday but that may not be the case Sunday.

RANGERS

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Taylor Pyatt

Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Chris Kreider - J.T. Miller - Ryan Callahan

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi

Marc StaalAnton Stralman

Michael Del ZottoMatt Gilroy

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Scratches: Brian Boyle, Stu Bickel, Steve Eminger

LIGHTNING

Nate Thompson - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis

Cory Conacher - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell

Ryan Malone - Benoit Pouliot - Alex Killorn

BJ Crombeen - Tom PyattAdam Hall

Eric Brewer - Matt Carle

Sami Salo - Victor Hedman

Keith Aulie - Brendan Mikkelson

Mathieu Garon

Anders Lindback

Note: Dana Tyrell cleared waivers Sunday and the Lightning recalled Killorn to take his roster spot. Killorn, 23, would make his NHL debut after putting up 16 goals and 22 assists in 44 games with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.

Scratches: Brian Lee, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Pierre-Cedric Labrie

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 6:46 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Callahan returns to Rangers lineup vs. Islanders

NEW YORK -- Ryan Callahan is back in the lineup for the New York Rangers on Thursday night against the New York Islanders after missing three games with a left shoulder injury.

The Rangers captain suffered the injury during a tussle with Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot on Jan. 29. Doctors told Callahan the following day he would miss 10-14 days with the injury, but he is making his return nine days after the prognosis.

During Thursday’s pregame warmups before facing the Islanders at Madison Square Garden, Callahan skated on the Rangers’ third line with rookies Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.07.2013 / 12:13 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers' Callahan could return against Islanders

Ryan Callahan was expected to miss 10-14 days with a shoulder injury, but it appears he’ll be back in the New York Rangers' lineup after just nine days.

The team’s captain was on the ice in Greenburgh, N.Y., Thursday morning as a full participant when the Rangers prepared to face the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.

The outlook seems less promising for defenseman Dan Girardi, who was an unexpected scratch Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils with an undisclosed injury. Girardi left practice early and along with Callahan, didn’t speak to the media afterward.

Rangers coach John Tortorella will address reporters about an hour before the game at MSG.

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Posted On Saturday, 02.02.2013 / 1:57 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Backups to face off in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. -- It's likely to be a battle of backup goaltenders when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

Rangers coach John Tortorella has tapped Martin Biron to make his first start of the year, while Lightning coach Guy Boucher is expected to let Mathieu Garon start the second half of the team's back-to-back weekend set.

This will be Biron's first start of the season in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who started the team's first seven games.

“We have a philosophy about playing goaltenders and we’ll stick to it,” Tortorella said. “We felt really comfortable how we used our goalies last year and we didn’t stray from that. We’ll do the same this year. We have two good ones.”

The Lightning lead the NHL in goals scored with 37. That total easily exceeds the combined efforts of the Nashville Predators and the Los Angeles Kings, who have scored 12 goals each.

After scoring three power-play goals on Friday night against Winnipeg, the Lightning have now scored 11 times out of 26 extra-man opportunities on home ice, good for a 42.3-percent success rate.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 6:32 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Rangers ready for first game without Callahan

NEW YORK - The New York Rangers will play their first game without injured captain Ryan Callahan Thursday night when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.

Callahan suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder when he and Philadelphia Flyers forward Max Talbot scuffled early in the third period of Tuesday night's game. An MRI confirmed the injury, but Callahan is expected to be back in 10-14 days, which is about 5-7 games.

Considering the worst-case scenario, a maximum of two weeks without their most complete forward seems like good news for the Rangers. Coach John Tortorella, however, didn't see the silver lining in the prognosis.

"I don't want to lose Cally for a day," Tortorella said.

Callahan spoke with reporters Thursday morning and lamented what was essentially an unlucky injury.

"It's tough any time you miss time, especially in a shortened season like this. It's hard," Callahan said. "I wish I was out there. At the same time, injuries happen during the year, and these things are going to happen and it's just a matter of getting back as you as you can. The first days [of rehab] are trying to get it to settle down, the inflammation and things like that. After that, I'll start to be able to strengthen it. Hopefully, they're saying two weeks, 10 to 14 days and I'll be back at it."

The Rangers have been thin at forward this season, and the loss of Callahan only amplifies the problem. For Thursday's game against the Penguins, Tortorella will use defenseman Stu Bickel as a fourth-line forward; blueliner Matt Gilroy will make his season debut in his second go-round with the Rangers.

The line shuffling will likely be fluid throughout the game, but this is what the Rangers should employ at the start of Thursday's game:

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin - Taylor Pyatt - Derek Stepan

Mike Rupp - Brian Boyle - Benn Ferriero

Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Stu Bickel

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto

Anton Stralman - Matt Gilroy

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

It will be interesting to see who patrols the front of the net in place of Callahan when the Rangers find themselves on the power play. Taylor Pyatt has spent some time there on the second power-play unit, so it could be him and Brian Boyle trying to obstruct the view of Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun.

Henrik Lundqvist will make his seventh start of the season. Only the Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers have yet to start a backup goaltender this season.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Thursday, 01.31.2013 / 1:00 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins get a look at Tangradi as net-front presence

NEW YORK -- Chris Kunitz didn't take part in Thursday morning's practice, but Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma expects him to be in the lineup against the New York Rangers.

Eric Tangradi spent practice in Kunitz's spot on the Penguins' top line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis, as Kunitz was termed under the weather by Bylsma.

With Kunitz absent, Tangradi was the net-front presence on the team's power play during practice. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound forward doesn't have a goal in five games this season, but standing around the crease with the likes of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the ice could help him break out of his slump.

"It’s going to be tough for the goalie to see around him and for the defensemen to move him," Crosby said. "He's got good hands in tight. If he's got rebound opportunities, he's going to be able to put them in. I think he's someone used to playing there; he's played there with us before. He should be pretty comfortable."

Tangradi doesn't care how the puck goes into the net.

"I feel like I've gained confidence from the way I've played, be it the beginning of this year or last year," Tangradi said. "Just to have one find the back of the net would definitely be encouraging. I've had a lot of quality chances and just haven't really found the back of the net. It definitely would kick-start something for me if I was to find the back of the net."

The Penguins' power play, despite ranking 11th in the NHL at 22.7 percent, has gone 1-for-14 in the last two games since starting the season 4-for-8 in wins against the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.

Bylsma believes despite the funk, it's nothing to get worked up about this early in the season even with the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Kris Letang and James Neal on the ice at the same time.

"Great power plays fail 75 percent of the time," Bylsma said. "So I think if people expect that every time they get on the ice something magical is going to happen, that it's going to go in the net, it's a false assumption. It's not true. They have been part of a very good power play, but it doesn't mean we score every time."

Bylsma announced that Tomas Vokoun will make his third start of the season and second against the Rangers. On Jan. 20 at Madison Square Garden, Vokoun made 31 saves in a 6-3 victory.

Here are the lines and defense pairings the Penguins showed at practice with Kunitz not taking part.

Eric TangradiSidney CrosbyPascal Dupuis

Dustin JeffreyEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Matt CookeBrandon SutterTyler Kennedy

Tanner GlassJoe VitaleCraig Adams

Simon DespresKris Letang

Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin

Ben Lovejoy- Deryk Engelland – Rob Bortuzzo

Tomas Vokoun

Marc-Andre Fleury

Bylsma said Bortuzzo will be in the lineup but said the rest of his team is a game-time decision. Lovejoy, Despres and Engelland were all in the lineup against the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

If Kunitz is healthy enough to play, it's possible Jeffrey will be a healthy scratch. He has played in just two games this season.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.29.2013 / 12:44 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Flyers hope to bounce back against rival Rangers

NEW YORK – Peter Laviolette was asked Tuesday morning about the one thing he’d like to see different from the Philadelphia Flyers’ last game, a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday afternoon.

“There’s no one thing,” Laviolette said. “There’s a whole bunch of things. I think collectively as a group, we weren’t sharp. I make no excuses for it. We didn’t play well enough. There is no one answer. I could give you different answers but instead of reciting them all, I think we’ll just work on them on the iced and try to be a better group.”

The Flyers will have a chance to bounce back after a day off Monday when they face the New York Rangers on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. Laviolette said he felt his team had played three good games in a row before the loss in Tampa, and that stretch included a 2-1 win against the Rangers in Philadelphia on Thursday.

The common thread in the Flyers’ four losses this season has been poor special teams and to some extent, far too many unnecessary penalties.

In their two wins, the Flyers are 3-for-10 on the power play and 7-for-8 on the penalty kill; in their four losses, they are 1-for-21 on the power play and have allowed eight power-play goals in 21 shorthanded chances.

The Flyers have also been outscored 10-2 and are 0-2 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.

“It seems penalties is one of the issues,” Flyers forward Danny Briere said. “Two were bad losses we didn’t play well in and in both cases it was the second game of a back-to-back and it’s an area we’ll have to improve. Everybody has to play the back-to-back games. We’ll have to better there.”

Briere said while his wrist is healthy enough to play against the Rangers, he isn’t ready to take faceoffs just yet.

Laviolette was secretive about his lineup, but here are the lines he showed during practice:

Wayne SimmondsClaude GirouxMatt Read

Mike KnubleBrayden SchennDanny Briere

Sean CouturierMaxime TalbotJakub Voracek

Zac Rinaldo - Ruslan FedotenkoTom Sestito

Kimmo TimonenLuke Schenn

Braydon CoburnNicklas Grossmann

Andreas Lilja - Bruno Gervais

Ilya Bryzgalov

Michael Leighton

Injured: Scott Hartnell, Jody Shelley, Tye McGinn

Scratched: Kurtis Foster

Lilja would not say, but he appears to be checking into the lineup in place of Kurtis Foster. As for the fourth line, Rinaldo also didn’t confirm if he would replace Tye McGinn. It will likely be a game-time decision, as Rinaldo is coming off a leg injury.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @Dave Lozo

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