Nash: "It's Over Now"; Hamrlik May Play

The Rangers held an optional morning skate at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg Thursday morning, with Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Brad Richards, and Henrik Lundqvist among those who did not participate. Lundqvist will start in goal against the Jets tonight, and the other three will be in the lineup as well as the Rangers seek a big bounce-back effort after Tuesday's dismal 3-1 defeat in Buffalo.

Rick Nash re-emphasized what his coach and some of his teammates said Wednesday after practice by declaring Tuesday's game in the past and this evening's contest the next most important one on the schedule.

"We had a good streak going, but last game was a bit of a setback, and we're going to forget about it with a better full game tonight," Nash explained following the morning skate. "It's over now, and it can be fixed with a big win tonight." 

This evening's contest with the Jets is an extremely important one for both teams. Winnipeg is 3-0-1 in its last four games and has pulled even in points (28) with the Rangers for eighth-place in the Eastern Conference. The Jets already beat the Blueshirts a couple of weeks ago, 4-3 at The Garden, so the Rangers do not want to drop a second game to them tonight.

"We're battling for points every night, and every game means so much," said Nash, who had his ten-game point scoring streak snapped in Buffalo. "You have to win as many as you can as fast as you can."

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Though John Tortorella did not reveal his lineup for this evening's contest, it would seem that Roman Hamrlik will be back in after sitting out the past two games. Hamrlik was off the ice early, while Matt Gilroy and Stu Bickel stayed on late with back up goaltender Martin Biron.

Hamrlik played in the games against the Islanders and Senators last week after being claimed off waivers from Washington. But after the second game in two nights, it became clear to the coaching staff that Hamrlik needed to work on his conditioning---which he has been doing in rigorous on-ice sessions with assistant coach Jim Schoenfeld.

"The first game I felt pretty good, but the second game I felt like I was losing a step," explained the 38 year-old Hamrlik, who had not played in a month prior to being claimed off waivers. "The coaches have been in the league long enough to realize I hadn't played in a long time, and these days i have been skating hard will help me."

Hamrlik laughed when asked what the experience was like being bag-skated by the incredibly fit Schoenfeld.

"It was kind of scary those first couple of says," laughed Hamrlik. "It's all for the good. It's pretty intense, that's for sure. I never had anything like that in my 20 years in the league. But I don't mind. The game is about hard work, so I hope this is going to help me."

Tortorella said after the skate that he doesn;t know too much about the veteran Hamrlik, never having coached him before, but he was hoping that someone would soon step forward and lay claim to that sixth defenseman spot on the blueline.

"When you lose a guy like Marc Staal and have some defensemen playing minutes they are not used to playing, we'd really like to get a rotation of six D playing while also trying to win each game," explained Tortorella. "I think (Steve Eminger) has played well enough to be in the five spot, but we'd like to get six playing."

Share your thoughts below on the possible lineup tonight, and what both Rick Nash and John Tortorella had to say.