NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 16th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (14-9-6) at New York Rangers (19-13-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New York Rangers just can't seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries this season.
Actually, they are catching too many of them.
One night after getting captain Chris Drury back into the lineup, the Rangers will be without Ryan Callahan for tonight's contest against the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.
Drury missed 31 of New York's first 32 games because of two separate breaks in his left index finger before returning to action last night versus the Penguins. The center skated in just over 14 1/2 minutes of action in his first game since Oct. 15, a number that may have saw an increase because Callahan suffered a broken hand in the first period while blocking a shot.
Without Callahan, who is second on the club with 23 points, the Rangers trailed 1-0 heading into the third period before exploding for four goals in a 4-1 victory. Erik Christensen and Alex Frolov erased the deficit on goals 15 seconds apart and both Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle scored.
"I'll say it once; it's a huge injury but we have to move by it. Someone else has to step up," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella of the team responding to the loss of Callahan.
The Rangers have already been without Vinny Prospal all season due to knee surgery, while Marian Gaborik and Michal Rozsival have also missed time with injuries.
Frolov scored his first goal in 12 games and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as the Rangers won for the fifth time in seven games.
Lundqvist is 3-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average in his career versus the Coyotes, while backup Martin Biron, who hasn't started since Dec. 2, is 3-4-1 with a 2.39 GAA when facing them.
The Coyotes opened up a season-long six-game road trip with a 3-0 loss in New Jersey last night. Despite getting outshot just 11-10 in the first period, Phoenix trailed 2-0 after the frame and lost for the fifth time in eight games overall.
"We came out in the beginning and weren't ready," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "I think them getting an early goal gave them life [because] they've been struggling."
Ilya Bryzgalov gave up three goals on 29 shots as the Coyotes fell to just 1-4-4 versus the Eastern Conference this season. Their current swing still features games versus the Islanders and Penguins before they head back out west to visit the Sharks and Stars.
Tonight may be a good night to rest Bryzgalov, who is 1-2-0 with a 3.27 GAA versus the Rangers. Jason LaBarbera is 2-0-1 with a 2.23 GAA in his career against New York, but has made just one start since Nov. 10 and none since Dec. 1.
These two clubs split two meetings last year, with each team winning on home ice. Gaborik had two goals and an assist in the Rangers' 5-2 home win last year on Oct. 26 and he has 18 goals and 26 points in 26 career games versus Phoenix.
The Rangers have won five of their last seven overall against the Coyotes as well as two straight and three of the last four played at MSG.
12/16 11:30:54 ET