As the Avalanche finish their road trip tonight, the Rangers are aiming for a win before they leave for what may be a chippy rematch with the Leafs in Toronto on Thursday and a visit to TD Banknorth Garden in Boston on Saturday.
They will face the Avalanche, whom they have defeated in the last two meetings, with juggled lines, except for one: Dubinsky-Anisimov-Callahn. The others: Frolov-Stepan-Fedotenko; Avery-Boyle-Prust, White-Christensen-Boogaard. We'll see...
Before the game, the team announced that Vinny Prospal, the Rangers’ leading scorer last season with 58 points, underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment from his right knee and will be sidelined six to eight weeks.
The 35-year-old forward has been resting and receiving treatment for the inflamed knee since Sept. 24. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee last December.
“It’s a little better than expected,” said coach John Tortorella. “We just weren’t sure and I don’t think they (the doctors) were. Now they know what they feel really was causing the problem and we have a bit of a timetable.”
In Prospal’s absence---and without captain Chris Drury (broken finger) for six weeks, a second alternate captain could be named soon. “I may,” said Tortorella. “We’ll get through this game, I have an idea of who I would like, we’ll talk about it as a staff, a team, and see where we go with it.”
Ryan Callahan, named last season, is a current alternate captain. Michal Rozsival also wore an “A” at times last season due to injuries.
Through three games, the Rangers penalty kill was 13 for 17, ranked 24th in the league. The Blueshirts have allowed at least one power-play goal per game, but Tortorella was more concerned about the infractions themselves rather than the penalty-killers’ performance.
“I think it’s been good. I’m not sure where we are percentage-wise, but we’ve been down too much. We stuff them (the Maple Leafs were 0-for-6 before Phil Kessel’s OT winner) the last game and we still give them a seventh in the overtime. I still think we did the right things to start that, the 4 on 3, but it’s been pretty good. We just can’t be in the box as much as we have been.”
Before tonight, the Rangers were 2 for 12 on the power play, tied for 12th in the league, with both goals coming against the Islanders. They were 0-for-8 combined against the Sabres and Leafs.
Rookie defenseman Michael Sauer was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. The Rangers have the second-youngest defense corps in the league behind Los Angeles.