Lundqvist, who had started 26 of the previous 28 games, was a late scratch. Rookie Chad Johnson, who was expected to start against Colorado in the second game of the back-to-backs, could be asked to play on consecutive nights. Or Lundqvist could be pressed back into service Sunday night; the Rangers don't play again until Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, goaltending issues continue in Hartford. Miika Wiikman was recalled from Charlotte, which is ominous for veteran Steve Valiquette, who was shipped to the AHL in early December after an 8-3 loss to the Penguins.
Valiquette, 32, who debuted with the Rangers in March 2004, was pulled twice in the last week and apparently injured a finger. He is 4-5-1 with the Wolf Pack with a 3.73 GAA and .877 save percentage. In 16 games with Charlotte, Wiikman has a 9-3-2 record, a 2.77 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
Heikkinen could get call
If the Rangers need to call up a defenseman quickly, it will have to be Ilkka Heikkinen, who played seven games in December. Injuries are decimating the Wolf Pack defense. Bobby Sanguinetti, Corey Potter, Mike Sauer and Mathieu Dandenault are out and Julien Brouillette, the Charlotte Checkers' leading scorer on defense, was signed to a pro tryout. Heikkinen, 25, is 7-19-26 in 40 games.
The Rangers are 5-2-1 in the second games of back-to-backs . . . Donald Brashear, who has been in uniform for one game in the last eight, was a healthy scratch last night, as was Ales Kotalik, who played in the 5-1 loss to Carolina . . . Scottie Upshall, the Coyotes' leading scorer, injured his knee in Thursday's game against the Flames and is out indefinitely.