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Lundqvist in, Staal unexpectedly out for New York

Sunday, 03.20.2011 / 12:53 PM / News

By Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent

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Lundqvist in, Staal unexpectedly out for New York
While Henrik Lundqvist played despite neck stiffness, the Rangers unexpectedly scratched Marc Staal with an undisclosed injury Sunday.
PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was in the lineup Sunday in Pittsburgh despite stiffness in his neck that occurred after he was bowled over by Montreal's Benoit Pouliot late in Friday night's game.

The Rangers would have played Chad Johnson, who hasn't started since getting four starts last season, if Lundqvist hadn't been ready to go. Johnson has only one career victory.

During the Rangers' 6-3 win over Montreal, Lundqvist became the first NHL goalie to win at least 30 games in each of his first six seasons.

While Lundqvist was on the ice,  the Rangers were unexpectedly without defenseman Marc Staal due to an undisclosed injury. Staal, an alternate captain and the brother of Penguins center Jordan Staal, has 26 points in 69 games and is a plus-7.  Staal received several stitches to close a cut above his right eye Friday, but finished that game with no other known medical issues.

Rangers coach John Tortorella declined to reveal why Staal sat out, saying it's getting too close to the start of the playoffs to reveal such information.

Tortorella said only that it's "a body injury," failing to disclose whether it was upper-body or lower-body.
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We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff