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Struggling Fedotenko will sit a second straight game

by Dave Lozo
NEW YORK -- Ruslan Fedotenko is one of the few veterans with Stanley Cup-winning experience on a young Rangers team poised to make a deep run in this year's playoffs.

Yet for the second game in a row, the 33-year-old will find himself as a healthy scratch when the Rangers close their seven-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres at Madison Square Garden.

Coach John Tortorella wouldn't use specifics Friday morning in discussing Fedotenko, but knows his value in the postseason.

"I'm not going to broadcast it to you guys," Tortorella said. "I want to make a change in the lineup. I still have a tremendous about of faith in Feds, as far as what he does. He's been there. He's been successful there. He understands the intensity of it, how it ratchets up. I think it's something that's important, especially when you're dealing with some guys who haven't done a lot of this.

"Right now I'm looking at different things. He'll play again, and we'll see where we go with it."

Fedotenko has 8 goals and 8 assists and is minus-10 in 65 games after posting 10 goals and 15 assists and a plus-9 in 66 games last season. In his last 25 games, he has 2 goals and 1 assist, and he knows that's why he's currently watching from the press box.

"I had a little dip there and didn't feel like I was producing enough," Fedotenko said. "Obviously I'm not scoring as much. I feel like maybe I'm focusing too much on defense and not enough on offense. I'm not saying I need to sacrifice defense, but I feel like I just need to put the emphasis more on being creative offensively and trying to score the goals. I think that's the bottom line."

Fedotenko knows it's nice to have a history with Tortorella -- the two were together when Tampa Bay won the Cup in 2004 -- but he also knows that doesn't get him any special treatment when he's not playing well.

"It's nice to have that trust, but it's still, if I don't deliver, I'm not going to play. That's the bottom line," Fedotenko said. "You never want to be sitting. It doesn't matter if you have a history or how many years you've been in the League, you always feel like that news is … you can use your own words.

"It's not pleasant, it's not what I'd like to do, but I'm trying to take this time to evaluate the game and figure out what I can improve to go forward and help the team. The ultimate goal is to win the Cup. That's why I came back here and that's what I want to do."

Here's the rest of the Rangers' lineup for Friday's game against the Sabres:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Brian Boyle - Mats Zuccarello
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto
Tim Erixon - Stu Bickel

Henrik Lundqvist
Martin Biron

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

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