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Gaborik in, Lundqvist out for Rangers

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- It's a bit of good news, bad news for the New York Rangers.
The bad news is goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who was scheduled to start Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres, showed up to Madison Square Garden feeling sick and will not play. Martin Biron, a former Sabre, will make his third start of the season.
The good news is Marian Gaborik, who has missed 12 games with a shoulder injury he suffered on Oct. 15 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be back in the lineup.
Gaborik led the Rangers with 42 goals and 44 assists in 76 games last season. Without Gaborik, the Rangers went a very respectable 6-6-0, but scored just 28 goals during that stretch.

"He's a true talent," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "I like the way the team is playing. I think we're grinding and doing a lot of good things that way. But you also need to maybe get a skillful goal along the way. I think he can bring that. He can make a play. He can make someone else better."

Erik Christensen and Alexander Frolov, both of whom have struggled to find consistency and confidence this season, will start Thursday's game on a line with Gaborik.

"It's easy for me, easy for any coach to say, 'I'm done with him. That's it, I'm done with Erik,' " Tortorella said. "And sometimes I do. Sometimes I bench him. Same thing with Frolov. But it's also our responsibility as an organization because it's our team. It's a coach's responsibility to try to get some people going, try to have them find their way. I'm giving Erik another chance. We'll see how it goes."

Tortorella said Gaborik's ice time, which was at 21:14 per game last season, won't be limited Thursday.

"I think he's in shape. As far as situations, power-play time and all that, that'll come into play," Tortorella said. "That's not a concern. That's never worried me, as far as going, 'OK, this guy has to get 10-12 minutes, it's his first game.'  I just don't buy it. I think the situations that he's in, how the game is played, and what he's going through during the game will dictate what's going to happen with ice time."

The Rangers were also without defenseman Michal Rozsival, who's out with a strained right shoulder that has been bothering him for a couple of weeks.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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