DENVER -- Craig Anderson will start in goal for the Colorado Avalanche on Friday against the New York Rangers at the Pepsi Center, his first game since suffering a right knee injury Oct. 26.
"It's a good feeling to get back in there," Anderson said after Friday's pre-game skate. "Now I know I have to give the team a chance to win, just do my part and not try to do too much. Sometimes when you come back from an injury, you try and do too much.
"My job was to get healthy and make sure I was ready to go. I think I've done the work now on and away from the ice. Hopefully the work off the ice is going to turn into positive stuff on the ice."
To make room on the roster for Anderson, who was activated from injured reserve, the Avalanche returned John Grahame to the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League.
Peter Budaj will serve as the backup against the Rangers after posting a 6-3-1 record in 10 consecutive starts while Anderson was recovering from his injury.
"When a guy is ready to play, he's ready to play for me," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. "We have two very good goaltenders, very capable goaltenders. Peter stepped in when Craig was injured and did a real nice job for us."
Anderson hurt his knee during pregame warm-ups last month in Vancouver and practiced for the first time this week.
"I had a good practice (Thursday)," he said. "I was on the ice for a good hour. I went through all the possible movements that you see in a game and I had no issues. I felt good enough to be cleared to play. It was up to the coaching staff to make the decision and they made the call. Now my job is to go out there and stop the puck."
Anderson appeared in a franchise-record 71 games last season when he posted 38 wins and played a pivotal role in the Avalanche's return to the playoffs.
"We wanted to make sure that he was comfortable, that he wasn't hindered by the knee at all," Sacco said. "The timing worked out very well because our goaltending coach (Kirk McLean) was here, as well. He's been here the last six or seven days and keeping real close tabs on him, watching him in practices and pre-game skates. The main thing was Craig felt 100 percent."
Asked how he plans to use Anderson and Budaj going forward, Sacco said he would made decisions "on a game-by-game basis."
The Avalanche play in Dallas on Saturday, and Sacco didn't rule out using Anderson again.
"With Craig, we'll see how it goes (Friday) and make a decision after the game," Sacco said.
Budaj is 7-3-1 this season, with one shutout, a 2.72 goals-against average and .909 save percentage. Anderson was 3-4-0 with a 3.15 GAA and .907 save percentage before getting hurt.
Gabby's back -- Rangers forward Marian Gaborik has 4 goals and an assist in four games since returning from a dislocated shoulder that sidelined him for 12 games.
"I feel pretty good," he said. "My shoulder is feeling OK. It's not all the way there, but it takes time. I feel pretty good on the ice. The team is playing well over the last few games."
Gaborik has had plenty of success against the Avalanche in his NHL career, with 19 goals and 15 assists in 39 games. In his last game against the Avs, he had all 3 goals in a 3-1 Rangers win at the Pepsi Center on Jan. 31 last season.
"I don't know what it is," he said. "I played here (while) with Minnesota many times. Hopefully (his success) will carry over in this game. Hopefully I can do it again."
Gaborik was out with the shoulder injury when the Avalanche defeated the Rangers 3-1 Oct. 18 in Madison Square Garden. Anderson made 31 saves for Colorado in that game.
"He adds a different dimension," Sacco said of Gaborik. "Every time I watch him, he seems to get two or three breakaways a game. You obviously have to be aware of when he is out there and make sure he's not getting behind you."