It seems like each time the Rangers get a player back on the ice another one falls victim to an injury or setback. Yesterday the Rangers were able to insert Vinny Prospal into the lineup for the first time this year but also saw Ruslan Fedotenko experience a setback, as he will be out another 3-4 weeks as he recovers from an emergency appendectomy. Today, the New York Rangers beat writer Jim Cerny informed us that while Erik Christensen will finally return to the lineup tomorrow against Montreal for his first game since December 29th, against New Jersey. However, Chris Drury will be out of the lineup, and though his play might be enough reason, apparently he has experienced knee soreness and is not making the road trip with the Rangers. Earlier in the year I was believed that Christensen would and should be the odd man out once everyone returned from injuries. However, as inconsistent and Christensen is, he is at least productive in spurts and would add some much needed finishing ability to our shootout lineup. Injuries or not, Chris Drury has done very little to justify a spot in the lineup, let alone his contract, since he returned to the lineup. I don’t know how many teams have ever put their captain in the press box, but if Christensen is able to make himself remotely useful in the next few games then I don’t see how Tortorella would be inclined to take him out in favor of Drury. For Christensen, this is his chance to prove he deserves playing time.
Following up on last night’s loss, Lundqvist took full responsibility for the loss, claiming that he “has to play better.” While insisting that nothing has changed in terms of Henrik’s position as the team’s main guy, Tortorella also stated bluntly that Lundqvist needs to pick up his game. I don’t think Henrik disagrees at all. It’s inevitable that, over the course of an 82 game season, even the best goalies will put up a few not so great games. I’ll become concerned if this drags on for a few more games. Otherwise, this is nothing out of the ordinary and Henrik will get past it.
That said, I expect Biron to get the start against Montreal tomorrow. Given Henrik’s past few games and the fact that Biron was outstanding in his last start against Washington, there’s no real reason to be against it. More significantly though, I feel that Lundqvist’s previous results in Montreal will ultimately convince Tortorella. Over his career, Lundqvist has posted a .897 save percentage along with a 2.94 GAA. He has not been worse against any other Eastern Conference team, and his stats at the Bell Centre are especially brutal. I imagine that Tortorella will find that Biron gives the team the best chance to win tomorrow while also seeing giving Henrik the night off as an opportunity for him to get some rest and clear his head as the team heads down the stretch.