Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi saw a group of reporters heading his way in the dressing room following the team's morning skate on Sunday and greeted them with a smile and the following:
"I will play tonight. There your backpage!"
So after missing two games with an undisclosed injury, which he has referred to as "nagging", Girardi is back in the Rangers lineup tonight, just in time to face Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, and the rest of the high-octane Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.
"I've wanted to get back as soon as possible, and I am excited to get back in and play a game," said Girardi, who has missed only four games his entire NHL career. "No matter what the injury is, you can't fully test it until you are in a game. There's only so much you can test it in practice. So tonight I'm going to go for it."
With Girardi's return to the Blueshirts lineup, it seems that Steve Eminger and Stu Bickel will be the healthy defense scratches this evening as both players stayed on the ice for conditioning skating after the other players had departed Sunday morning. Brian Boyle was also out late with Eminger and Bickel, meaning he likely will be a healthy scratch up front for the second straight game.
"We're looking to put some solid back-to-back games together here," offered defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Sunday.
The Rangers have won four of their last six games, including a 4-1 win over the Islanders in their most recent outing Thursday night at The Garden.
Henrik Lundqvist, coming off a 27-save outing against the Isles, will start in goal for the tenth time this season. The only time he has not played this year was eight days ago when Martin Biron got the call in a 3-2 road win down in Tampa.
What do you think of Dan Girardi's return to the lineup Sunday? And what about the rest of the lineup? Let us know your thoughts below.