The "anchor," as coach John Tortorella calls defenseman Dan Girardi, was back after missing two games with a lower-body injury, believed to be a groin strain. "He's a shut-down guy and he's also creating some offense," Tortorella said.
Earlier in the day, Girardi, who had played 145 consecutive games, declared: "I'm playing; there's your back page. It's just getting progressively better. It feels good today so I'll go out there and just play."
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Girardi had two assists in his return and played alongside Marc Staal. The pair shut down Steven Stamkos' line. Said Girardi: "No matter what the injury is, you can't test it fully until you're in a game. You can only simulate so much in practice. You've got to go for it."
Power play goes improvLike quarterbacks given the option to audible, the Rangers have a little more free rein on their struggling power play.
"We're allowing them to try to express themselves a bit, trying to leave them alone," said Tortorella, who has been trying a variety of fixes when the Rangers -- 0-for-3 last night and 4-for-40 overall -- have man-advantage opportunities.
When positioning on faceoffs, for example, he said: "It's their call. We're trying to let them explore . . . They understand our foundation and we just want them to play now. There's been so much scrutiny and so much talk, and coaching, I think it's gone too far the other way. [We] felt we were giving them a little too much. We want them not to get stuck in one position."