GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Talk about a season on the brink.

The Rangers' practice Tuesday was winding down with breakaway drills. Marian Gaborik, the Rangers' leading scorer, bore down on Henrik Lundqvist, who decided to come out of the crease and poke-check the puck.

Gaborik, whose eight seasons in Minnesota were interrupted by groin and hip issues, tried to leap over Lundqvist, whose skate caught Gaborik in the knee. The dynamic right wing, who has 35 goals and 34 assists, landed awkwardly, slid face first into the corner and lay there for about half a minute.

Lundqvist, who skated over, thought Gaborik was playing possum. He wasn't.

Gaborik limped off, favoring his right leg and was helped into the trainers' room as teammates watched in silence.

But the Rangers dodged a bullet, as Gaborik suffered a cut on the thigh and nothing more severe, according to the team. His status for tonight's home game against the Nashville Predators is unclear. But it could have been far worse. Lundqvist, as valuable as Gaborik to this team's chances for the playoffs, was uninjured.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"Right now, that's [a laceration] all we think it is," said assistant GM/coach Jim Schoenfeld, who ran the practice with assistant coach Mike Sullivan. Coach John Tortorella was in Massachusetts attending the funeral of Toronto GM Brian Burke's son. "It's not like it's a twist to the groin or the knee, it's just a laceration."

Asked about the possibility of Gaborik playing Wednesday, Schoenfeld said: "It would be a guess. And I would rather not guess."

About 40 minutes after the incident, Schoenfeld said Gaborik was being stitched up at the Madison Square Garden Training Center and was not taken to a hospital for X-rays or an MRI. A team spokesman said Gaborik would not speak to the media after practice, and there is no game-day morning skate scheduled, so Gaborik could be a game-time decision. In 26 games against the Predators with the Wild, Gaborik had 12 goals and 11 assists.

Signed to a five-year, $37.5- million contract last summer, Gaborik played only 17 games last season for the Wild and underwent hip flexor surgery that appears to have repaired the recurrent problem. The Slovak right wing, who is expected to play in the Vancouver Olympics, has been healthy all season, missing only two games, on Oct. 28 and 30.

Notes & quotes: Corey Potter (2-10-12 in 43 games for Hartford) has been recalled as an extra defenseman. The 25-year-old has played two games in the AHL since returning from a concussion . . . Ryan Callahan rested and did not practice . . . The Rangers close their three-game homestand with the lone matchup this season against the Predators, who faced the Islanders last night.