Slumping Rangers practice on Easter Sunday
In search of a solution to a goal drought that has extended beyond two full games, the Rangers held a rare Easter Sunday practice that was not scheduled until after Saturday night's 3-0 loss to Montreal.
With 14 games to play and with the Rangers on the playoff bubble, Henrik Lundqvist, who served as the backup in Montreal after starting nine straight games, will be back in net Monday night at the Garden against the Winnipeg Jets, who have beaten the Rangers twice this season.
The Rangers (16-15-3), who entered Sunday tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference with the Islanders and with a game in hand, fell to the Jets, 4-3, at home on Jan. 26 and in Winnipeg, 3-1, on March 14. The Jets (18-16-2) third in the East, have lost five of their last eight games.
After the game against the Jets, next up for the Rangers is a home-and-home against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, starting at the Garden. Sidney Crosby, the league's leading scorer, is sidelined after breaking his jaw when he was struck by a deflected puck against the Islanders on Saturday.
The Penguins have won 15 straight and have beaten the Rangers in their first three games this season. The Rangers visit Pittsburgh on Friday and Carolina on Saturday.
"We have another big week coming up,'' backup goalie Martin Biron said.
No decision has been made on the status of Jesper Fast, the 21-year-old Swedish winger who has been in New York, waiting to hear if he will report to AHL Hartford.
Callahan shoots back. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan fired back at former teammate Sean Avery, whose tweet Saturday night called coach John Tortorella a "clown'' and advocated his firing because he had lost the team. "Sean Avery's comments solely represent his own thoughts and opinions,'' he said in a statement released by the team. "He did not speak for us as a team when he was here and certainly does not now.''