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Torts says Drury in Rangers' Game 4 lineup

Wednesday, 04.22.2009 / 12:48 PM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- All Rangers coach John Tortorella had to say was two words when he was asked a question about captain Chris Drury's status for Game 4 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

"He's in," Tortorella said quickly.

There is reason to believe him.

Drury, who has been limited by what is likely a hand or wrist injury, though no official word has been given, skated briefly Wednesday morning on the Garden ice and apparently went immediately to the trainer's room. His skates were not hanging up by his locker and his sneakers were still resting on the bench on top of his shorts and t-shirt.

He did not come out to address the media.

Aaron Voros, who was Drury's replacement in Game 1 and the Rangers lone scratch in Games 2 and 3, stayed on for plenty of extra practice time with assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld. That's what the scratches usually do.

Upon leaving the ice, Alex Ovechkin, who had just come out of the Capitals' dressing room, asked Voros if he was playing. It sounded as though Voros said, "Not tonight."

With Drury in, the Rangers will have their complete lineup again for Game 4 (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN). How their lines will shake out and how much ice time Drury gets is still anyone's guess. He played only 10:58 in Game 3; only 1:34 in the third period. He did not take a faceoff all night.

Tortorella, though, is less concerned about lines and matching than he is with his defense, which he said was "mesmerized by the puck" in Game 3.

"It's not like it was odd-man rushes, we just simply were watching the puck, and they pass the puck very well," Tortorella said. "They're a very talented hockey team so you have to look away. We did not look away. We were staring at the puck."

To avoid puck watching, defenseman Dan Girardi said the Rangers have to get back to the aggressive style they played in Games 1 and 2. They blocked a combined 50 shots in the first two games in large part to their effectiveness in the slot.

They blocked only 13 shots in Game 3 because the Caps were free to cycle the puck.

"The first guy has to get in on the body there and we have to stay tight in the slot to make them make plays from the outside," Girardi told NHL.com. "It's working maybe harder and smarter."

Contact Dan Rosen at
drosen@nhl.com.
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