Brandon Dubinsky will miss his 13th game tonight when the Rangers host Buffalo, but coach John Tortorella this morning did not rule out the injured center from possibly playing Monday against the Thrashers.

               "He's close....he's chomping at the bit," Torts said of Dubinsky, who is practice with a plastic guard to protect his right hand, which he broke in Calgary on Nov. 7. "He won;t play tonight. Monday? You never know. I can't guarantee it."

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              Chris Higgins will start with Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik

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               The No. 1power play untit of Del Zotto, Kotalik, Gaborik, Prospal and Callahan will have another opportunity tonight, the coach said, before some changes are made. He said that the "our top guys need to take the pressure off" 19-year-old Del Zotto, who is being challenged at the point by aggressive opponents. "He has such a  tremendous future."  As for the PP in general, "the entries are fine, we throw the puck away too much, a lot of Hail Marys."

                And overall? "I don't think we're a confident bunch."

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                  One player who won't see any PP time is rookie D Ilkka Heikkinen, who is replacing Matt Gilroy and providing some muscle in front of the net. "He brings a dimension we don't have a lot of."

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                Is Gaborik wearing down?  Not physically, but perhaps mentally, Torts suggested. "He's kept us afloat with some fatnatsic play. But he is going to have a dip during the season here and there."

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                 P.A. Parenteau will play tonight rather than Enevr Lisin again, because the coach liked the look of the fourth line. although they didn't see much time in the third period in Chicago because of the three penalties. Aaron Voros is the other healthy scratch.

 

                 More from the Garden later...