Based on warmups, it appears Gaborik will skate with Erik Christensen and Vinny Prospal. The right wing had missed three straight games and four of the last five. And in a 3-2 win at Pittsburgh on Feb. 12, he played just 4:02. “I’m not monitoring him, he’s ready,” said coach John Tortorella. “We need him to play.”


               The rest: Dubinsky-Jokinen-Callahan, Avery-Anisimov-Drury, Shelley-Boyle-Prust. 




                   It is the Rangers debut for Auld, 29, who had played 204 NHL games with a record of 83-81-28 and a 2.78 GAA, was claimed off re-entry waivers from Dallas on Feb. 27. He has played 9 games against the Capitals and is 3-4-1, with one shutout. Auld’s last win was Jan. 29 against the Avalanche and was 9-6-3 with the Stars.

                  Tortorella said Auld’s experience made his a better option for the Rangers than “trying to force-feed that position” with youngsters Chad Johnson, who appeared in five games and won his last start in Colorado on Jan. 31, and Matt Zaba, who mopped up in a Jan. 23 loss to Montreal, allowing two goals on 16 shots in 34 minutes.

                  “The situation that we had with our backups,” he said, “it’s best we could get them down there ( Hartford ) to develop. In the stretch run here, it’s a good thing for to have a veteran guy we can use. We’re not using a rookie, so it’s definitely not the same spot. This is a veteran guy who has played in the league for quite a while.”


                  At seven-minute mark, Rangers outshooting Caps 6-3. Auld got left pad on semi-breakaway by Eric Fehr at about five minute mark. Rangers PP fizzled; Caps had two shots. Auld cradles long wrister by Laich. Avery off for hooking on Shaone Morrison  along boards at 8:58, at the tail end of a  5 on 3 with Staal gone for holding the stick at 9:13, Fehr lifts puck into half open net to Auld's left. Gaborik looks a step behind. Rangers have 12 shots, Caps 9. Bigger Caps are able to shove Rangers off pucks in one on one battles. Auld was very solid, stopping Chinmera from teh left circel and coming waaaaaay out on left side to stick away a loose puck and prevent a breakaway.


               Eric Belanger got behind Brandon Dubinsky and one-timed a shot from in front past Auld for a 2-0 Caps lead. Rangers have 22 shots and their best chance on the session came when Shaone Morrison, in a bonehead move, slid a pass to Dubinsky alone in front. He went to his backhand and Theodore stopped the puck with his stick. Seems to me they are passing too much in theO  zone, allowing the Caps D to recover and disrupt plays. Can;t ask for much more from Auld, who is mobile and quick tonight.




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