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Lundqvist back in net for Rangers

by Lonnie Herman
TAMPA, Fla. -- The New York Rangers arrived here with a nine-point lead in the Eastern Conference standings following their win Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. They enter Friday's game with three consecutive wins and the second-best road record (20-8-4) in the NHL.

The Rangers start Henrik Lundqvist to start in net Friday after Martin Biron started Thursday's game. Lundqvist leads the League in save percentage (.940) and shutouts (eight).

"We don't have a top-10 scorer or a team that can strike fast," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "So we rely on our goaltender. Lundqvist has been the best in the NHL this season."

Richards, a key member of the Lightning's Stanley-Cup winning 2004 club who also has played for the Dallas Stars, said he's noticed a different playing for an Original Six team.

"We see (Rangers) fans everywhere we play," Richards said. "There are more rivalries involved."

Richards has been riding the subway to home games since he did so Feb. 9, and then scored the overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Lightning.

"It's 14 minutes from my apartment to (Madison Square) Garden," Richards said. "One stop."

Unlike the Lightning, the Rangers are assured a spot in the post-season, but don't ask any of them to look ahead. That's against the rules as long as John Tortorella is in charge.

"We're not allowed to talk about the playoffs," Richards said. "We keep it in the present."

We had the Lightning lineup earlier; here is what the Rangers' likely will put on the ice tonight:

Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ruslan Fedotenko
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
John Scott - John Mitchell - Mike Rupp

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal, with Martin Biron the backup.
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