Bure Returns to Lineup; First Game Since December 6
/ New York Rangers
Following the return of Brian Leetch to the lineup on Friday after missing 31 games due to a bruised foot, right winger Pavel Bure decided that tonight was his night to hit the ice.
Bure, who has missed the previous 31 games after undergoing a pair of knee surgeries on December 16, returned to the lineup tonight in Ottawa, skating on the right side on a line with Petr Nedved and Jamie Lundmark. The winger collected an assist on Alexei Kovalev's third period power play goal.
"You can practice as much as you want, but I felt it was time to test it in a game," said Bure earlier in the day. "The game is much faster than a practice, so we'll see what happens. I'm excited. It's always fun to play in a game, especially when I haven't played in such a long while."
Bure underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on December 16 to repair a posterior tear of the medial meniscus in his left knee suffered on December 6 vs. the Buffalo Sabres. In addition, exploratory arthroscopic surgery conducted on his right knee revealed no damage to Bure’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
The 31-year old has tallied 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points in 28 games this season. Bure has recorded 42 points (26 goals, 16 assists) in 40 matches with the Rangers since being acquired from Florida on March 18, 2002.