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Eye specialist to examine Rangers' Lundqvist

Injury isn't believed to be 'anything too serious;' Hellberg recalled as precaution

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will have his right eye examined by a specialist here Thursday afternoon, with the results determining his potential availability for Game 2 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference First Round at Consol Energy Center on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Lundqvist, injured late in the first period in Game 1 on Wednesday, will have to practice Friday in order to play Saturday, coach Alain Vigneault said. The Rangers are not practicing Thursday.

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 1-0 after winning 5-2 on Wednesday.

"He's been checked by our doctors; at this time we don't feel that it's anything too serious," Vigneault said. "There's a little bit of swelling near the eye and around the eye, so he's going to see another specialist this afternoon and we'll have more news tomorrow."

Lundqvist was injured when defenseman Marc Staal's stick blade went through his mask and hit him in or near the right eye with 48.2 seconds remaining in the first period in Game 1. Lundqvist played the remainder of the period, gave up a goal to Patric Hornqvist with 17.6 seconds left, and did not return after the intermission.

Antti Raanta made 16 saves in relief and will start if Lundqvist is unable to play.

Video: NYR@PIT, Gm1: Lundqvist shaken up in 1st, later exits

The Rangers recalled goaltender Magnus Hellberg from Hartford of the American Hockey League on Thursday. Hellberg will be the backup if Lundqvist has to sit out Game 2.

"That's in case we get some bad news," Vigneault said, "but at this time we don't feel that way and it's just a matter of where the injury is and being on the safe side and making sure everything is all right."

Vigneault said the decision to keep Lundqvist in the game for the remainder of the first period was made by the goalie and the medical staff.

"He's a good team guy, he doesn't want to put his backup in a situation where he's got to step on the ice with a little over a minute [left in the period]," Vigneault said. "So, he's convincing himself, 'I'm all right.'

"I'm not saying that had anything to do with the goal. Their goal was scored because we had three guys that were watching the puck behind the net and forgot 72 in front. But when [Lundqvist] he came in, he had a tough time seeing. He couldn't go back. It was as simple as that."

Vigneault said he doesn't regret leaving Lundqvist in for the rest of the first period because "you've got to trust the player and his rapport with our medical staff.

"He was talking with [trainer Jim Ramsay], they've been together a long time. You've just got to trust that they're doing the right thing."

Rangers center Derek Stepan said the rest of the team didn't know Lundqvist wasn't going to start the second period until late in the intermission.

"As you go through an intermission, everyone has got their own things that they're kind of going through," Stepan said. "[Lundqvist] has his things that he's going through. He didn't change any of that, and then I would say probably five minutes before we were about to go on the ice, someone came in and said [Raanta] is going in. That's how we found out."

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