The Rangers and Senators both skated this morning at Madison Square Garden in final preparations for this evening's seventh and deciding game of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.
The good news for the Rangers was that Ryan Callahan took part in the morning skate after missing practice yesterday. There has been speculation that Callahan has a hand or finger injury, but he met with reporters following the skate and had no obvious signs of injury.
"I'm fine," Callahan responded when asked if he had suffered any injury in Game 6 on Monday night.
While head coach John Tortorella did not discuss his lineup this morning, it would seem fairly certain that Callahan, the team's heart and soul captain, will play in Game 7. However Brian Boyle will miss his second straight game due to a concussion. Boyle was at The Garden working out on his own earlier today, but he did not take part in the skate.
Steve Eminger---who said he is "100 percent" healthy again, Jeff Woywitka, and John Scott look to be the healthy scratches again for the Blueshirts.
"We have to treat (tonight) as more of an opportunity instead of focusing on the pressure (of playing Game 7)," Rangers alternate captain Brad Richards said this morning. "We should use the energy in the building and have fun, enjoy it. We're in our comfort zone in Madison Square Garden with our fans. I'd rather be here than anywhere else."
Henrik Lundqvist drew the loudest laughs in the Rangers dressing room this morning when he was asked if the media overanalyzes things, responding quickly, "Probably", before the reporter could finish his question.
As for the Game 7 tonight, Lundqvist said, "We have to use the energy that's in the building, and hope they (the fans) can be a difference. We just have to focus on things (we) can control. Of course there is more pressure, but you just can't overthink things."
Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean says he will "consider all options" regarding his lineup this evening, and did not answer specifically about the availability of defenseman Matt Carkner nor forward Zenon Konopka, both of whom did not practice Wednesday nor take part in Thursday's morning skate. Among MacLean's options is using either---or both---of his prized rookies, Mark Stone (who played in Game 5) and Jakob Silfverberg (who played in Game 6).
"It's an amazing crowd a good atmosphere (at Madison Square Garden), I think," said Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, who was named a finalist for the Norris Trophy earlier today. "The Rangers always play good here and it makes us step up our game, as well. We have to come out and start strong today (because) they're going to come out flying probably and try and get it over with."
In five games played between the Rangers and Senators this season (playoffs and regular season) at The Garden, Ottawa has won four times, including twice in overtime.
"We know we are the No. 1 seed, but that doesn't matter come playoff time, and we don't put pressure on ourselves in here (because of that)," explained Callahan. "We have to go out and try and win a game. It's an elimination game and we have to approach it the same way (we did in Game 6) and play the same way."
Share your thoughts below on the news and comments from today's morning skate heading into Game 7.