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Dan Girardi won't let being hit in the face by the puck stop him

Dan Girardi of the Rangers looks on during

Dan Girardi of the Rangers looks on during training camp on Sept.19, 2014 at MSG Training Center in Greenburgh. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

Teammates have praised Dan Girardi's toughness in the past, and they marveled at his iron-man reputation again Friday. He practiced with the right side of his face swollen after being struck with a deflected puck midway through the third period on Thursday night.

Girardi, who annually ranks among the NHL leaders in blocked shots, played all 82 games for the fifth time in his career and will play his 91st playoff game Saturday night, the third-most of any Ranger.

"I tell myself I've seen everything," Ryan McDonagh said. "I'm not surprised [he'll play] but obviously very happy. The guy can battle through a ton of pain and be able to be effective for us. It's a great sign that he's able to practice. He's tough to replace for sure."

Girardi, who after practice joked that it looked as if he had the mumps or a tobacco chaw in his mouth, left the ice with 9:29 to play Thursday night and didn't return -- although he thought about it.

He was ready to go back on the ice Thursday night after an examination of his teeth and jaw was completed with a minute to play. "But I didn't have all my equipment on,'' he said, "so I decided to watch the six-on-five [when the Penguins pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury].''

Said coach Alain Vigneault: "He certainly puts his body on the line every shift."

 

Boyle must be better

Vigneault expects better puck management from defenseman Dan Boyle, who had several turnovers in his own zone and whacked his stick on the glass in frustration after Henrik Lundqvist made a save to rescue him after one of them.

"He had been playing some real good hockey for us,'' Vigneault said. "I think he'd be the first to tell you that [Thursday] he might've been a little bit off in certain puck decisions, but his play without the puck was good. He's a veteran player, he knows that he can be better and he will be better Saturday."

 

Power play must be better, too

Vigneault declined to detail what adjustments will be made for Game 2, but the Rangers worked on the power play in practice, against various combinations of defenders and against Lundqvist and Cam Talbot. "One for five [in Game 1] is 20 percent," Vigneault said. "In the regular season, that's pretty good. But it's an area that can get better." He didn't mention that the units had only seven shots on goal during the five five-on-fours.

 

Moving up

With the Rangers' next win, Vigneault will reach 52 playoff victories and pass Hockey Hall of Famer Roger Neilson for 20th on the NHL's all-time list . . . The Rangers lead all Eastern Conference teams in playoff wins (29) since the start of the 2012 postseason . . . In Game 2, Penguins coach Mike Johnston hopes to see about 10 more shots on Lundqvist. "We have to do a little more as far as volume of shots,'' he said. "We've got to be in the 35 range.'' . . . McDonagh expects the Penguins to come out with more urgency. "They're going to want to score one or two goals early,'' he said. "We've got to be ready right off the hop."

New York Sports