44° Good Afternoon
44° Good Afternoon

The Morning Skate: Rangers practice 10:40...



                   after a well-deserved off day...Stay tuned for live reports from Westchester here and on

                   Marian Gaborik, who missed Saturday’s game in Nashville with the flu, is expected back…Henrik Lundqvist, who has a career save percentage of .753 in shootouts and is 31-21, will likely make his fourth consecutive start tonight at home vs. Pens …The penalty-kill is 41-for-45 (91.1 percent) in the last 13 games.      

                   Here's my quick look at Ryan Callahan from today's paper. Note the Tortorella quote:


                  With 19 goals last year and seven so far this season, Ryan Callahan will never be mistaken for Tampa's young sniper Steven Stamkos, who could score 50 or more.

                   But when it comes to timing and setting an example, Callahan’s your man.

                  Two of the right wing’s goals have come in the third periods of the last two Rangers wins: The tying goal with 6:56 left in regulation in Nashville on Saturday when it seemed the road-weary Rangers could barely muster a shot, and a power-play score in the 3-0 victory against the Panthers on Friday. Back on Nov. 15, he scored in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins, who visit Madison Square Garden tonight. In the last 20 games, he has 17 points.

                  More important, Callahan, in his fourth full season with the club, seems to epitomize the team identity that coach John Tortorella is trying to shape.

                  “Forget about the scoring,” said Tortorella. “Just talk about his blocked shots when (Shea) Weber’s shooting the puck toward the end of the game. I mean, he’s just fearless. We don’t have to look too far to what we want as a definition of what we want our players to be. He’s right there in front of us, every night. He’s what it’s about as far as being a Ranger… and good for him to score a goal, because he does all the other things.”

                Indeed, the Rochester native, one of the team’s two alternate captains, is second in the NHL with 97 hits and leads all forwards with 34 blocked shots. “We’re starting to take more responsibility in helping lead this team,” Callahan said recently, referring to Marc Staal, Dan Girardi and Brandon Dubinsky. “We’re not the youngest guys anymore.”

                 Although the Rangers are 4-1-0 in the past five and sixth in the Eastern Conference at 14-10-1, the Penguins (15-8-2) will be a severe test. They have won six straight since Callahan’s OT winner and did not lose in three tries at the Garden last season. The Penguins are 8-3-1 on the road, third-best in the league and the Rangers have struggled at home, just 5-6-1.


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