TAMPA, Fla. - Chris Drury sped across the blue line and dropped the puck to a trailing Dale Weise. The young right wing lost control of the pass and the rush faltered. As Friday's practice drill was whistled to a stop, Weise slammed his stick against the glass behind the net.
At least Weise, 22 - who will play in his second NHL game Saturday night against the Lightning (on a line with Drury and Sean Avery) - had time to practice, unlike his NHL debut against the Flyers Dec. 18, when he didn't have time to skate with his teammates before the Rangers' 4-1 loss.
"I came right to the game," said Weise, a 6-2 Winnipeg native who almost scored twice against the Flyers that afternoon, once when the puck went through Brian Boucher and trickled past the post. Another score was waved off by a ruling that he kicked the puck in. "I've seen the replay,'' Weise said Friday, "and it's still a goal in my book."
This time, Weise, who was called up to replace Erik Christensen (sprained MCL) feels "a little more comfortable, with being able to skate beforehand. [Avery] is so strong down low with the puck, I've just got to get down low and work the cycle, and a guy like Dru can work down low, too, so I hope we all complement each other."
The pace of Friday's 45-minute practice was "much quicker" than the AHL, said Weise, who looked a little gassed at the end. "It was hot out there," he said.
Drury, who will center the fourth line at least temporarily in Christensen's absence, said Weise "has pretty good speed for a big guy. He plays pretty hard, gets pucks to the net, he likes to bang, and that's what our game has to be. You can't tell him too much, just to play straight-ahead hockey, get pucks deep. That's our line anyway. I know him well enough to know what his game is and vice versa. It's system stuff that we have to jump on and he's going to have to pick up quickly."
Notes & quotes: Henrik Lundqvist will start his fifth straight game . . . Marian Gaborik (groin), who is expected to play, still hasn't scored a goal this season other than at the Garden (seven in 11 games) or the Coliseum (three in two games).