RANGERS at FLAMES, 9 p.m.
MSG 2, 1050 AM
CALGARY -- Let's try this again … again.
For the second time in a shade over a week, the Rangers have had a wrongfully convicted player set free. Brendan Lemieux will be able to celebrate his 23rd birthday in the Rangers' lineup when he and the Blueshirts finish up their Pacific Division schedule with Alexandar Georgiev in the nets on Friday night at the Saddledome. Lemieux's match penalty from the second period of Wednesday's game in Vancouver is no more, with another mea culpa from the league office. And the Rangers once again can carry on as if nothing at all happened.
Except, of course, for what did happen. Lemieux came together with an off-balance Antoine Roussel of the Canucks midway through Wednesday's game, causing Roussel to go down awkwardly and injured, and convincing officials that a match penalty for Lemieux was in order. It took only a quick second look to clear Lemieux of that.
Most regrettable of anything, of course, was that Roussel came away from the incident with a knee injury that will force him out for the remainder of the season. Canucks coach Travis Green said the injury would not require surgery.
"I knew on the play - I was upset, (but) I knew I probably wasn't going to be in any trouble," Lemieux said on Friday morning following the Rangers' pregame skate. "It's a fast game; they're humans, and mistakes are made. And so I think that's kind of what happened on the play.
"It's unfortunate for our team and for me at the time, but it's part of the game and it's completely understandable. It's unfortunate even more so that he got hurt on the play as bad as he did, and you never want to see that. But it's also part of the game.
The official about-face comes only eight days after a similar swing for Mika Zibanejad, who had his game misconduct overturned after a hit in Dallas resulted in the Rangers' top center's ejection in the third period of a one-goal game. That one was the first major penalty Zibanejad had ever received in an NHL career closing in on 500 games.