Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.
Live from Vancouver: Lisin doubtful for Canucks
Two years ago, the Rangers flew to Western Canada on a three-game winning streak and left with just one point out of a possible six.
Only eight players are left from that roster, but the danger remains. The Canucks, Oilers and Flames are all above .500 and with just four goals in the last three games, the Rangers (3-3-1 on the road) need to re-ignite their offense, which had been averaging four goals a game.
“You can complain about production all you want, but we’ve got to try and help guys,” coach John Tortorella said after practice at GM Place where one struggling forward, Chris Higgins, was bumped to the No. 1 line to the left of Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik. “If Higgy continues to do some other things, he’ll get more ice time.”
The change came not only because Higgins, mired in a 15-game goal drought, has been playing with more purpose in the last few games, but because Enver Lisin was struck in the left foot blocking a shot late in the first period against Boston, had an x-ray, which was negative, but couldn’t continue.
Lisin, who has three goals and five assists, didn’t skate. His instep was swollen and he couldn’t lace up a skate. “It feels worse today. I’m not sure how it’s going to feel tomorrow,” he said before limping to the bus.
The Rangers catch one break: The Canucks’ Roberto Luongo (fractured rib) skated today, but will be replaced in net by Andrew Raycroft.
Although Tortorella begins setting his lines with Gaborik and Prospal, the team’s top scoring tandem, he is trying to balance the other three lines. In practice, he kept Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Sean Avery together and Chris Drury between Ales Kotalik and rookie Dane Byers.
Whatever the trios, until there is secondary scoring, this team will rise and fall on the play of Gaborik and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who is expected to start tonight. “We’re a pretty young team,” said Tortorella. “Gabby doesn’t make you as tight when you’re in those one-goal games. We’re going to make mistakes. Henrik helps keep those mistakes from ending up in the net.”
Center Brian Boyle had some family issues and was arriving later tonight...Artem Anisimov is averaging just 9:45 per game but is tied for seventh in rookie scoring at 3-4-7. He was moved up against Boston. Look for that again...Donald Brashear was one of the first players off the ice. It's possible he or Voros will be scratched.