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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 2:02 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers, Frolunda tied 1-1 after first

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- They chanted "Hen-ke, Hen-ke, Hen-ke" for Henrik Lundqvist, who was made an ambassador of Gothenburg in a ceremony prior to Friday night's game. He was introduced to a huge ovation and got a chance to wave to the crowd while video clips of his part in Frolunda's celebration after the 2005 Swedish Elite League title were shown above him.

The moments prior to Friday's game here at the Scandinavium were touching, so emotional. I could only imagine what it felt like to be Henrik Lundqvist, who had been looking forward to this game for so long, both with excitement and nervousness.

He got a louder ovation than his old team. Everyone in the sold-out crowd was standing, including media members.

Lundqvist's brother, Joel, who is Frolunda's captain, took part in a ceremonial puck drop with Brian Boyle. The guy dropping the puck was Frolunda legend Ronnie Sundin, who played one game with the Rangers in 1997-98. He also played 67 with Hartford, but he spent the bulk of his playing career in Sweden.

It didn't take the Rangers long to score either. Kris Newbury buried a shot off the rush from the left circle just 2:24 into the game to give the visitor's a 1-0 lead.

However, two-and-a-half minutes later Lundqvist lost the puck after making a save and Jonathan Johnson buried a rebound shot from the high slot to make it 1-1.

The game remains 1-1 after the first period, but Frolunda has a two-man advantage for the first 71 seconds of the second period. Dylan McIlrath (cross checking) and Brandon Prust (interference) are in the penalty box.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


 

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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 12:44 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Lundqvist has a letter

GOTHENBURG -- With captain Ryan Callahan and alternates Brad Richards and Marc Staal all not playing Friday night, Henrik Lundqvist led the Rangers out onto the ice with the letter 'A' sewn onto his game sweater.

Lundqvist, of course, does not normally wear a letter for the Rangers, but this is his night in Gothenburg, in his old building against his former team, and the Rangers deserve credit for recognizing that by giving him the honor of a letter.

I wonder if Lundqvist even knew he was getting it, or it was just on his jersey when he got the arena. I'll have to ask him after the game.

The game is sold out, but when Lundqvist led the Rangers onto the ice for pregame warmups only half the stands were filled. Still, he got a loud applause.

Lundqvist only needs to look up at the championship banners here to remember one of the best times of his career. He led Frolunda to the 2005 Swedish Elite League championship. The banner will hang over his head in the second period.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 12:40 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers aren't rookies in Gothenburg

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Don't let the headline fool you, because nobody on the current Rangers roster even was out of diapers in 1981. Heck, only four of the 33 players on the roster now even were born around this time 30 years ago.

So the players likely wouldn't know that this isn't the New York Rangers' first visit to the Scandinavium here to play the Frolunda Indians.

On Sept. 22, 1981, in the Rangers' first training camp under coach Herb Brooks, the Rangers beat Frolunda 7-1. It was part of a nine-game NHL/Europe tournament that included the Rangers, Washington Capitals, HIFK Helsinki, AIK Stockholm, Djurgarden Stockholm and Oulu Karpat.

Dave Maloney, who currently works for MSG as a Rangers radio and TV analyst, played in the Rangers' game against Frolunda. He's back in New York doing analysis on MSG on for Friday's game.

Speaking of Friday's game, outside of hometown hero Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers will dress a thin lineup that won't include Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Dan Girardi and many others. However, Sean Avery and Brian Boyle will play. Avery had been nursing a sore foot and Boyle had the flu in our first few days in Prague.

Swedes Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon will play in front of their countrymen.

Frolunda's roster has some familiar names on it, including Lundqvist's twin brother, Joel, who used to play in Dallas. Joel Lundqvist is Frolunda's captain. Christian Backman, who played for the Rangers near the end of the 2007-08 season, is on defense for the Indians. Former Flyer Mika Pyorala will be the left win on the second line. Former Boston Bruin P.J. Axelsson is on the roster, but he's not in the lineup Friday.

Frolunda has five wins and an overtime loss in the first six games of its Swedish Elite League schedule.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 8:40 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Thin lineup expected for Rangers

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- Henrik Lundqvist will be the star of the show Friday night here at Scandinavium, but he won't have much of his NHL buddies playing for him. Rangers coach John Tortorella wants to get a look at some of the guys who for now are targeted for the AHL, a lot of the forwards that played Thursday in Prague will not be in the lineup against Frolunda.

The scratches who skated in the afternoon here include:

Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Derek Stepan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Steve Eminger and Mike Sauer.

Odds are that Dylan McIlrath and Blake Parlett, who has not played in a preseason game yet, will draw in on defense for McDonagh and Eminger. Girardi also didn't play Thursday. Brendan Bell, Stu Bickel, Tim Erixon and Michael Del Zotto will join McIlrath and Parlett on the blue line.

Since the Rangers won't dress seven forwards that played Thursday night, I would venture to guess that Sean Avery (sore foot) and Brian Boyle (flu) will play Friday night along with Carl Hagelin, Dale Weise, Ryan Bourque, Kris Newbury and John Mitchell.

Mike Rupp, Brandon Prust, Mats Zuccarello, Wojtek Wolski and Erik Christensen should fill out the 12 forward spots. They all played Thursday as well.

Seeing Sauer skating with the scratches is interesting because he has been out with a sprained shoulder. I hope to have more from him once the guys are off the ice.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Friday, 09.30.2011 / 8:16 AM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Lundqvist, Rangers arrive in Sweden

GOTHENBURG, Swe. -- Henrik Lundqvist has been waiting for this day ever since finding out the Rangers would be traveling to Europe to begin the season. He's back in the town where his star was born, where he won a Swedish Elite League championship, where his brother is now the captain of the local team.

Lundqvist will be in net Friday night to take on his old team, the Frolunda Indians, at his old stadium, the Scandinavium, in front of many old friends and family members. He has admitted there are some nerves to go along with his excitement.

I saw him this morning at breakfast at the hotel in Prague and, clad in his designer suit, Lundqvist looked as calm as ever. I saw him again when the team was unloading their luggage off the team bus in front of their hotel here in Gothenburg, and again he looked calm.

I likely won't see Lundqvist again until he hits the ice Friday night. I gotta imagine that at some point that look of complete composure will crumble just a little.

The Rangers lineup for Friday's game hasn't been made known yet, but odds are some of the top forwards will not be on the ice because they played Thursday night in Prague and coach John Tortorella wants to see guys like Dale Weise, Carl Hagelin, John Mitchell, Kris Newbury and Ryan Bourque.

It will be interesting to see if Sean Avery and Brian Boyle crack the lineup. Avery has been bothered by a sore foot and Boyle is getting over the flu.

I'll have more information on the lineup soon enough.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 5:50 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Del Zotto, Erixon play well, but ...

PRAGUE -- Michael Del Zotto and Tim Erixon were noticeable all game as they helped the Rangers to a 2-0 win against HC Sparta Prague on Thursday. Del Zotto had a key assist on Ruslan Fedotenko's power-play goal and Erixon was credited with a pair of assists -- his most important play was the pass that set up Artem Anisimov for the Rangers first goal.

However, Rangers coach John Tortorella wasn't exactly throwing out the superlatives to his two young defensemen, who are still trying to make the opening night roster.

Tortorella said evaluating Del Zotto and Erixon off Thursday's game is tough because of the larger international ice surface. Both are skilled skaters and puck-movers -- the kind of players who are always going to fare better when they have more room to operate.

"There is more room and it's hard to take time and space (away)," Tortorella said. "You could see we struggled with that in the first period. When we start playing in North America there is not going to be a lot of room -- and these situations, Michael and Erixon, players like that, are going to have to thrive in if they want to continue to get ice time.

"But they did some good things (Thursday)."

Tortorella already knows what Del Zotto is capable of in an NHL game on NHL-sized ice. Erixon is coming to the Rangers from Sweden, so he was noticeably more comfortable on the larger surface because that's all he knows.

That said, Tortorella did give the kid some praise, an obvious sign of how badly he wants Erixon to make the team.

"He's improving," the coach said. "He's playing a system that he hasn't played before. We've asked him to do some things he's not comfortable with. He's improving along the way here."

It's highly probable that both Erixon and Del Zotto will play again Friday in Gothenburg. The ice sheet will again be big, but there's nothing the coach can do about it.

"It's a puck-control type of situation where you're not going to have a lot of the same puck-control when you play in a North American arena," Tortorella said. "It's a different game playing in a big rink. My biggest fear is we don't get into bad habits because we're going to be playing on small ice once the season starts."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 5:39 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Mission accomplished

PRAGUE -- The Rangers arrived here Tuesday with three goals in mind: Continue to improve, win a hockey game and soak up some of the Czech culture.

They'll leave here Friday morning feeling good about accomplishing all three goals.

"We got some work on the power play and got some work on the penalty killing," coach John Tortorella said following a 2-0 win against HC Sparta Prague at Tesla Arena on Thursday. "We had a real good day (Wednesday) as far as working on our concept, not only on the ice but in the room as far as video. We just keep going about our business."

Tortorella mentioned numerous times how important Wednesday's practice was. He was not pleased with how his team played in Monday's 5-3 loss at Philadelphia or how they practiced Tuesday after arriving here following the eight-hour overnight flight.

But Wednesday was by far the Rangers most important day in Prague from a hockey standpoint because Tortorella for the most part was able to divide the team so the guys that will likely be on the NHL roster were in one group while the guys who are most likely heading to Hartford after Friday's game in Gothenburg were in the other.

"It was a very important day for me as far as the coaching staff," Tortorella said. "We're down in numbers and we've gotten near our game group, and we really buckled down on the ice as far as our game concept and then had a good video session. That's what we're going to keep pounding away on in the next few days."

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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 2:41 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers hang on to 2-0 lead after 40 minutes

PRAGUE -- The Rangers lead remains 2-0 heading into the third period. Anisimov and Fedotenko had the goals in the second and Biron continues to play a sharp game, leading to his shutout through two periods.

New York's second power play unit worked on Fedotenko's goal and has actually been quite impressive on both of its chances. The first unit (Brad Richards, Marian Gaborik, Wojtek Wolski, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky) has struggled to generate much.

However, the Rangers for the most part dominated the second period after what can only be considered a sub-par first period for them.

The third period is set to begin soon.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 2:16 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers score on PP, lead 2-0

PRAGUE -- Michael Del Zotto found Ruslan Fedotenko in front of the net for a power-play goal to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead with 11:30 to play in the second period here at Tesla Arena.

Derek Stepan started the play on the right wing, passing down to Del Zotto, who was near the goal line. Fedotenko cut to the net and Del Zotto found him for an easy goal with the man-advantage.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Posted On Thursday, 09.29.2011 / 2:13 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Rangers World Tour

Rangers grab 1-0 lead

PRAGUE -- Artem Anisimov got the Rangers on the board with 14:15 to play in the second period, giving them a 1-0 lead over Sparta Prague.

Anisimov scored from the slot with a backhander off a feed from Tim Erixon. Brandon Dubinsky started the play with a sharp diagonal pass from the right circle down to the goal line for Erixon.

Sparta's defense shifted and goalie Tomas Popperle went to the near post. Erixon recognized and found Anisimov, who settled puck and shot it into the open net.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl


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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic