Gilroy Practices, Torts Praises JT

Michael Del Zotto may have quickly moved away from Matt Gilroy when Gilroy sat down in the locker next to Del Zotto's so as not to catch the bug which had sidelined the defenseman Thursday night, but that could not ruin Gilroy's day on Saturday. Matt Gilroy was just happy to be out of bed, taking part in practice, and feeling better after having dealt with a case of the flu for several days.

And with Gilroy back out on the ice, the Rangers were missing just one player---Arron Asham---from their workout, a big improvement from prior days when the likes of Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto, Asham, and Gilroy were among those not able to get on the ice due to injury or illness.

With the team getting healthier, and coming off an impressive 4-1 victory over the Lightning, winger Taylor Pyatt said on Saturday that it's time for the Rangers to start getting on a roll.

"You look at the March schedule, we have a lot of games coming up, so if we can get on a run here, especially with games at home, it'll be good for our confidence," explained Pyatt.

Del Zotto concurred with what Pyatt had to say.

"It's time now, we have our guys back healthy, we played a good third period against Winnipeg, then played a strong game Thursday, it's time for us to put some wins together," offered Del Zotto.

The Rangers will host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night and then the Philadelphia Flyers next Tuesday to close out their current four-game homestand. A stretch of three games in four nights kicks off on Thursday with road contests against the Islanders and Capitals sandwiching a Friday night home game with the Senators.

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Head coach John Tortorella skated the same lines and defense pairings that he used in Thursday's game in practice on Saturday. He said afterwards that he really liked how all four of his lines played against the Lightning, and thought there was a good balance throughout the lineup.

Part of that balance was created by Rick Nash's return to the lineup. Two days later Tortorella stated that "Nash helped us all" by playing, with Brad Richards benefitting greatly by Nash's return to action.

"I think Brad played his best game of the season on Thursday," said Tortorella. "He cares so much, and sometimes I wish he didn't care as much because it paralyzes him a little bit. He allowed himself to play, and you could just see the flow in his game (Thursday). It's encouraging."

Richards, who picked up an assist on Nash's goal Thursday, now has two goals, 11 assists, and 13 points in 19 games this season. His assist total leads the team, while his point total is one behind Nash, who has a team-best 14 in 15 games.

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Tortorella also had praise for 19 year-old rookie J.T. Miller, specifically pointing out that Miller had a slight dip in his game recently, but righted himself and has played very well since.

"I thought he had dipped, but the last couple of games--he has a good inner confidence about himself to get to that next level," the coach said of the rookie 2010 first round pick. "He has a lot to learn, but he's into it. He wants to stay, and he's going to make that decision for us with his play."

Miller, who said after practice that he is shooting the puck more on advice from linemate Brian Boyle and who is taking the body more consistently, has played in 11 NHL games, so far, scoring a pair of goals and totaling four points. He picked up an assist on Marc Staal's power play goal in Thursday's win.

"He is an interesting one to me, in the right way," Tortorella added about Miller. "I like the kid. I like how he presents himself."

What do you make of this healthy Rangers team? And what of the coach's comments about Brad Richards and J.T. Miller? Share your thoughts below.