A quick report from the Garden, where the Rangers practiced this morning:
Brandon Dubinsky (sore shoulder) and Ruslan Fedotenko (back) skated with line combinations, and said afterward they expected to play tonight against the Predators. Dubi called the pain "bearable" and wouldn't have missed three games if schedule was more favorable. Fedotenko said his back was not injured by a specific check during the Toronto game. Said he felt it while skating on his last shift and if his back feels fine by gametime, will dress.
Coach John Tortorella said that if they both play, Wojtek Wolski will sit.
The lines: Dubinsky-Richards-Callahan; Hagelin-Stepan-Gaborik; Fedotenko-Boyle-Prust; Anisimov-Mitchell-Rupp
The news on defense is good: Michael Sauer, who has been sidelined with concussion symptoms after a hit to the head from Dion Phaneuf on Dec. 5, skated on his own yesterday and in a non-contact jersey today. He said he has been free for more than a week of the headaches, dizziness and memory loss that had plagued him. He said that on the hit in the visor, it shifted his helmet, and is now considering not wearing the visor.
Jeff Woywitka, shut down for a week with a bruised foot, skated in the non-contact jersey, and said he felt none of the sharp pain on turns as happened previously. Will skate tomorrow again.
And finally, Steve Eminger, who also skated with the non-contact jersey for the first time since his shoulder was separated on Dec. 17, is on track to return sometime after the All-Star break. Said he is having problems shooting (naturally).
As for the matchups tonight, it's Henrik Lundqvist in net vs backup Anders Lindback. Coach Barry Trotz said Preds are playing lot of back to backs. Also, D Ryan Suter is out for Nashville, who coach John Tortorella called "a clone" of the Rangers, as he described top-notch goaltending, hard-working Preds skaters, and defensive structure. Also mentioned the power play in the "clone" sequence but wait, Preds are 3rd in NHL on the PP. Rangers, as I mentioned today, 23rd....