Ryan Callahan was expected to miss 10-14 days with a shoulder injury, but it appears he’ll be back in the New York Rangers' lineup after just nine days.
The team’s captain was on the ice in Greenburgh, N.Y., Thursday morning as a full participant when the Rangers prepared to face the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
The outlook seems less promising for defenseman Dan Girardi, who was an unexpected scratch Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils with an undisclosed injury. Girardi left practice early and along with Callahan, didn’t speak to the media afterward.
Rangers coach John Tortorella will address reporters about an hour before the game at MSG.
At the Islanders’ morning skate in Manhattan, Evgeni Nabokov was the first goaltender to leave the ice and will likely get the start. It will be his sixth straight and ninth start in 10 games this season. In six starts against the Rangers last season, Nabokov went 2-3-1 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .909 save percentage.
Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will not make his Islanders debut Thursday but is expected to join the club Friday.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano told reporters that Matt Carkner is out with a lower-body injury, which means Joe Finley will slot into the lineup. Capuano also said Eric Boulton will play, which likely means Cazey Cizikas will be a healthy scratch.
Here are the projected lineups for the Islanders and Rangers:
Matt Moulson – John Tavares – Brad Boyes
Michael Grabner – Frans Nielsen – Kyle Okposo
David Ullstrom – Keith Aucoin – Colin McDonald
Eric Boulton – Marty Reasoner – Matt Martin
Andrew MacDonald – Travis Hamonic
Ben Strait – Mark Streit
Thomas Hickey – Joe Finley
Scratches: CaseyCizikas, Matt Carkner
Marian Gaborik - Brad Richards - Taylor Pyatt
Carl Hagelin - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash
Chris Kreider - J.T. Miller - Ryan Callahan
Arron Asham - Jeff Halpern - Darroll Powe
Ryan McDonagh – Anton Stralman
Marc Staal – Michael Del Zotto
Steve Eminger – Matt Gilroy
Scratches: Dan Girardi, Brian Boyle, Stu Bickel
Note: Boyle has played 184 straight games, but will be a healthy scratch against the Islanders. The streak began in the Rangers’ final game of the 2009-10 regular season, a shootout loss to the Philadelphia Flyers that left the Rangers out of the postseason. This season, Boyle has one assist in nine games (he originally was credited with a goal in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 26, but it was later determined he didn’t deflect the shot) and played just 9:36 against the Devils on Tuesday.