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Biron between pipes in Toronto tonight

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Pregame Notes

By Jim Cerny,

Martin Biron will make his Rangers debut this evening when the Blueshirts face off with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. The 33-year-old goaltender will give Henrik Lundqvist his first break in action after Lundqvist had started each of the club’s first four games.

“It’s definitely exciting, I’ve been looking forward to this day since training camp ended,” said Biron after the morning skate in Toronto. “I feel ready, and it’s just about letting it all come natural out on the ice tonight.”

Rangers backup goalie Martin Biron is very comfortable playing in Toronto, where he had one of the best games of his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2007-08 season.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella explained that the coaches have a game plan for how often Biron will play this season, and they did not want the fact that the club is off to a 1-2-1 start persuade the decision makers to alter that plan.

“We can’t let some little struggles here in the early going teeter us from that plan for Marty,” said Tortorella. “And part of the plan is to let Hank work on some things in practice, because if you are playing all the time then you are not practicing and working on the things you need to work on.”

Tonight will mark the 31st time that Biron has faced the Maple Leafs in his career. The only other team he has played against more is the Pittsburgh Penguins. The reason for that is Biron spent the bulk of his 11-year career with the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto’s division rival.

“I’ve played them so many times in my career all the games melt into one really,” said Biron. “But I do know that there is great energy in this building. I think you have to take some of that energy and put it into your own game.”

One start against the Maple Leafs that must stand out for Biron was his career-high 51-save effort at the Air Canada Centre back when he was a member of the Philadelphia Flyers on March 11, 2008.

Biron certainly is hoping not to see that many shots this evening from the high-flying Leafs, who bring a 4-0-1 record into play, including a 4-3 overtime victory over the Rangers last Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Scores to settle tonight?

One of the subplots of this evening’s tilt is if either team will seek retribution for some things that took place in the teams’ first meeting of the season last week.

Sean Avery
The Rangers are not happy with Colby Armstrong, whose boarding penalty against Marian Gaborik knocked the Blueshirts star sniper out of the lineup with a separated shoulder. And the Maple Leafs have expressed their ire with Sean Avery, who was penalized for slashing defenseman Mike Komisarek last Friday.

“We’ve discussed the things that went on in that game,” said Tortorella. “We’re trying to instill in our players ways to protect your teammates, but there are ways to do that without being an idiot. We’re striving to do that. We need to play hard and we need to play through people. All of the things that come into the game, like the Armstrong hit, we don’t focus on that, but we have talked about team toughness and handling situations when they arise.”

This morning, Tortorella’s counterpart, Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, downplayed what effects last week’s game will have on tonight’s match.

“I don’t think much happened last Friday in the sense that (the media) sees smoke and is trying to fan it into a forest fire,” said Wilson. “I don’t think the players are thinking about that at all. But when you do play a number of games in a short period of time there will be added intensity.”

From the Rangers locker room, Rangers alternate captain Ryan Callahan stated simply: “To a man we are ready to compete. We’re coming here to grab two points.”
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