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Goaltender Zaba recalled from Hartford

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
Hartford Wolf Pack Watch

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that goaltender Chad Johnson has been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL), and Matt Zaba has been recalled from Hartford.

Matt Zaba
Johnson, 23, registered one assist, made 31 saves through regulation/overtime and stopped three of five shootout attempts while making his first career NHL start on Thursday at Atlanta.  In two appearances with the Rangers, Johnson has registered one assist and posted an 0-0-1 record with a 2.29 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.  He made his NHL debut with 17 saves on December 30 vs. Philadelphia.

Johnson returns to Hartford where he has appeared in 22 games with the Wolf Pack this season, posting a 12-7-2 record with a 2.07 goals against average, .927 save percentage and three shutouts. He ranked fifth in the AHL in goals against average, and was tied for fourth in shutouts, seventh in save percentage and eighth in wins at the time of his recall on Tuesday. Johnson registered a season-high four-game winning streak, beginning with his first career AHL shutout on October 31 against Providence to November 7 at Bridgeport.

He also notched back-to-back shutouts on November 13 vs. Manchester (26 saves) and November 14 at Worcester (35 saves).  The AHL rookie made his debut with Hartford on October 9 at Providence, and recorded his first AHL win the following game on October 10 against Springfield.

The Calgary, Alberta native was originally the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fifth round selection, 125th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  He was acquired by the Rangers on June 27, 2009, in exchange for a fifth round selection (Andy Bathgate) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

Zaba, 26, registered a combined 2.01 goals against average and .932 save percentage (55-59) in back-to-back games this weekend - a 5-2 win at Worcester on Friday and a 3-1 loss at Albany on Saturday.  He has posted a 2-3-1 record with a 3.59 goals against average and .884 save percentage in 10 games with Hartford this season.  Last season, Zaba ranked seventh in the AHL in goals against average (2.33), tied for eighth in save percentage (.920) and 12th in wins (25).

He also led the league in shootout save percentage with a .930% success rate.  Zaba was named AHL Goaltender of the Month for February, and he finished the regular season with a 14-2-0 mark and a 1.84 goals against average, a .937 save percentage and one shutout in his final 16 contests.  He made his AHL debut on October 18, 2008, at Toronto.  In addition, Zaba has dressed as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup in two games with the Rangers this season.

The Yorkton, Saskatchewan native was originally the Los Angeles Kings eighth round selection, 231st overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  He was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 20, 2007.
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