Roughly 14 hours after Ryan Callahan's overtime goal in Carolina last night lifted the Rangers into the playoffs, the team was parcticing at the MSG Training Center. It was an upbeat, relaxed workout, with many laughs and much trash talking shared by the players during an end-of-practice shootout sequence with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Ryane Clowe, who suffered an undisclosed injury Thursday against the Hurricanes, and Callahan---who was taking a well-earned maintenance day---did not practice Friday. Also absent was Arron Asham, whose wife gave birth in the early hours of Friday morning, and Brian Boyle remained off ice as he rests and rehabs an undisclosed injury.
Kris Newbury, who was officially recalled from the Connecticut Whale after Thursday's game, took part in practice, as did Marc Staal and Derek Dorsett, who are both close to returning to game action folowing lengthy injury absences.
Dorsett reported that he was going for a CT scan on his clavicle to make sure the break is sufficently healed, hopeful that it will be the last hurdle to clear before being cleared to make his Rangers debut.
"I was really excited last night when we tied the game and then scored in overtime because obviously it kept my season alive---and everyone's season---and I now I just can't wait to step on the ice for the first time, I'm antsy," Dorsett said on Friday. "Now we'll get the CT scan, and make a decision (on playing) from there."
With so many questions marks surrounding the health of different players, it is a bit of an unknown what kind of lineup the Rangers will dress in their regular season finale Saturday afternoon against the Devils. The game still bears importance because the Rangers---and other teams in the Eastern Conference---are not locked into a specific seeding just yet.
As of Friday afternoon, the Rangers still could finish in sixth, seventh, or eighth place. And they could face either Pittsburgh, Boston, Montreal, or Washington in the first round of the playoffs.
"It doesn't matter (who we face)," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella following practice. 'We are going to let it play out and what happens, happens. That's why I think tomorrow's game is important, that we keep playing good hockey, and bring it right into the playoffs."
Added defenseman Ryan McDonagh, “We’re still playing in our home barn. Our home fans are there. It’s the last game of the regular season. You still have a chance to move up in the standings depending on how the teams shake up. We are just going to approach it like it’s another huge two points, which it is, and we need to try and get a win on home ice.”
Tortorella stated that it is possible Lundqvist will make his 14th consecutive start in goal on Saturday, meaning that backup Martin Biron would enter the post-season having not played since March 30th.
Share your thoughts below on all of the injury-related news, and who you'd like to see in the lineup on Saturday.