PITTSBURGH---Chris Drury played more than he expected. In what he considered a second opening night, the Rangers captain began as as a fourth liner and penalty killer after missing eight weeks and 31 games with a twice-broken index finger, and ended up skating for 14:32 after Ryan Callahan broke his left hand early in the first period.
"It certainly gave Chris an opportunity, I didn't think I was going to give him that much ice time," said Rangers coach John Tortorella. "It's a huge injury but we have to move by it." Drury was on ice for 26 shifts, more than 12 other Rangers, won four of five faceoffs and blocked three shots. " It was great to have Dru back, I look at him, blocking shots already, he has ----- as big as the building," Tortorella said. "It's not a great tradeoff, we'd like to have both out there, but I thought we've handled adversity well so far this season."
Drury said he "kind of figured" his conditioning was good, but "I wanted to see what my awareness was after watching so many games and not having any exhibitions. After a few shifts, felt pretty good, the awareness part." The comeback, he said, was indicative of the resiliency of the team. "You lose Cally and you're shorthanded against one of the best teams in the league, you just try to grind in out, get pucks deep."
The sidelined Vinny Prospal (knee, out for several more weeks), who traveled here with the club and was expected to practice, instead came down with the flu and was sent back to New York. Derek Boogaard (shoulder) stayed in New York for treatment and won't play against Phoenix tonight...The Rangers will not immediately call up reinforcements from Hartford, which means Todd White, a healthy scratch yesterday for the 17th time, will dress. Among the possible replacements for the AHL: Dale Weise, Evgeny Grachev, Mats Zuccarello.