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Lundqvist takes third crack at first win of season

by Dan Rosen

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Henrik Lundqvist will again be going for his first win of the season Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins.

It'll be his third try.

Lundqvist and the New York Rangers lost in Boston, 3-1, in their season-opener Saturday. He gave up four goals on 18 shots in less than 23 minutes the next night and got pulled early in a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Lundqvist's mindset now is simply to play well enough at Madison Square Garden to give his team a chance to win.

"One win can change a lot," Lundqvist said after a brief morning skate at the Rangers' suburban practice facility.

"Right now my motivation is just to get a win and get a good feeling here in the room," he later added, "start building something positive."

Even though it is early, being winless so far this season is wearing on Lundqvist, last season's Vezina Trophy winner. He has a 4.77 goals-against average and .865 save percentage through two games.

However, it should be noted that last season it took Lundqvist until his fourth start to get a win. He lost in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings, in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks and in regulation to the New York Islanders before shutting out the Vancouver Canucks.

The difference is he gave up seven goals in his first three games last season. He's allowed seven in two games this season.

"It doesn't matter if it's this year or earlier years, when you don't get wins you always get a little more tense," Lundqvist said. "You're definitely more comfortable and relaxed when you're winning, there's no question.

"At the same time, going from low to high and high to low, that's kind of part of this game. It motivates you to work harder because you get upset and you get frustrated when you lose. That's what is really pushing me right now to start winning, to feel good about the team and about yourself."

It's still unknown if Arron Asham (groin) will be able to play Wednesday. Asham didn't practice Tuesday and wasn't on the ice Wednesday morning.

If Asham can't play, Stu Bickel likely will move up from defense to play on the fourth line with Mike Rupp and Jeff Halpern. Defenseman Steve Eminger is expected to make his season debut.

"Obviously I need to be prepared to play both [forward and defense]," Bickel said. "It doesn't affect my mental preparation. I bring the same elements to the table either way. I'm a D-man and that comes more natural to me, but I just want to play."

Here is the Rangers' expected lineup for Wednesday's game:

Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Rick Nash

Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan

Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - Taylor Pyatt

Mike Rupp - Jeff Halpern - Stu Bickel or Arron Asham

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Michael Del Zotto - Steve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Injured: Possibly Arron Asham (groin), Michael Sauer (concussion)

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