The Rangers did not hold a morning skate Tuesday in San Jose, but the team did confirm in the early afternoon that there would not be any changes to the lineup from Monday's 3-1 win in Los Angeles. Among other things, this means that Henrik Lundqvist, who has been so good playing successive nights in his career, will make his third straight start to open up the 2013-14 season.
"The last couple of days my practices have been better, my timing has been better," Lundqvist explained after stopping 28 of 29 shots in Monday's victory. "I think (the win over the Kings) is something both me and the team can build on, especially this week which is a great challenge for us."
The game in Los Angeles started a stretch of four games in six nights for the Rangers, with all four of the contests coming against quality Western Conference opponents. Tonight it's the 2-0-0 Sharks, then on Thursday the Blueshirts face off with the Ducks who have won two straight, and they conclude this stretch with a battle in St. Louis Saturday against a Blues team that is not only 2-0-0, but which has outscored the opposition 11-2 in those two games.
"We played much more desperate hockey (Monday), and I think that comes from the realization of what's ahead of us here on this road trip," noted Brad Richards, who scored twice against the Kings. "The way we played (Monday) was night and day from last week (4-1 opening night loss in Phoenix) and that needs to continue."
So Lundqvist starts again this evening, and head coach Alain Vigneault has given no indication when or if Martin Biron will get a start in goal on this road trip. A few days ago when pressed about his goaltending plans Vigneault stated that he was focusing more on the short term, meaning getting Lundqvist on top of his game before making sure his back up was getting an opportunity, too.
"I think I was doing a lot of good things in Phoenix, but didn't get the results, so it was hard to feel good about it," explained Lundqvist. "But the way we played as a group (Monday) it was great to see, and I felt good about my game, too."
Both Ryan Callahan and Taylor Pyatt who were stitched up during the game against the Kings, missing extended portions of the contest to do so, will play tonight against the Sharks---another rugged, physical team like the Kings. Jesper Fast and Justin Falk agains will be the two healthy scratches for the Rangers.