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Brief hiatus comes at good time for injured Rangers

File - Dainius Zubrus of the New Jersey

File - Dainius Zubrus of the New Jersey Devils slides into Henrik Lundqvist at the Prudential Center. (October 5, 2009) Credit: Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The good news is that the Rangers have caught a break in the schedule as they don't play again until Thursday and have only three games in the next 10 days. The bad news? They really need the break.

If the Rangers played Wednesday, they potentially would be without two centers, Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky, and their No. 1 goalie, Henrik Lundqvist.

It appears, however, by the time the team plays the Thrashers on Thursday, that Lundqvist, who is dealing with either a thigh or groin problem, will be back. There is also a chance that Drury, who suffered a concussion Saturday, will be available. Drury rode a bike at the practice facility Monday and coach John Tortorella has not ruled him out for the game.

One player who won't be back for a while is Dubinsky, who was at the practice facility wearing a cast on his broken right hand. Tortorella said he doesn't anticipate calling anyone up from Hartford to plug in for the injured players. He added, however, that he might reconsider that Wednesday.

"I don't need four centers," he said. "I can bounce people around. We have a couple of extra forwards, so I don't expect any changes as far as personnel . . . I think our forwards understand all positions, whether they are a wing or a center. Even within a game, they get interchanged. System-wise, it is not a problem."

Vinny Prospal, who could be centering one of the lines, put it a bit more succinctly. "Basically, the only difference is on the faceoff," he said.

Lundqvist has missed two straight games, meaning he will have a nine-day layoff by Thursday. Though he did not skate Monday, he said he plans to practice Wednesday and play Thursday. He was evasive about the nature of his injury, saying that Tortorella really doesn't want him talking about it.

"I'm still trying to get to 100 percent," Lundqvist said.

Notes & quotes: The NHL suspended Calgary's Curtis Glencross for three games Monday for his blindside hit of Drury that resulted in the concussion. The announcement didn't come until after Rangers practice, but it was clear at the time that Tortorella believed the hit warranted some kind of disciplinary action. The play wasn't penalized Saturday . . . Also not skating Monday were Enver Lisin (foot) and Marian Gaborik (general soreness). Both are expected to be available against Atlanta.

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