Morning Skate in Raleigh: Dorsett Replaces Carcillo In Lineup

Jim Cerny
BlueshirtsUnited.com

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Derek Dorsett missed 18 straight games after fracturing his leg blocking a shot against the Penguins on Jan. 3 in Pittsburgh. Despite having been a regular in the lineup prior to the injury, it has been difficult for Dorsett to reclaim a consistent spot among the top-12 forwards since his return to action at the beginning of this month.

Now after having been a healthy scratch the previous two games — three of the last four — Dorsett will once again play this evening when the Rangers face the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. Veteran Dan Carcillo, who has played very well in 21 straight games since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings, will sit tonight in favor of Dorsett.

"They're both the same type of player, both bring energy, both bring physicality, and I just want to get Dors in," head coach Alain Vigneault explained Tuesday after the full-team morning skate at PNC Arena. "He's been out for a long time and he was playing on a regular basis before his injury and was doing a good job for us. And Dan's done a good job for us; but they both bring the same type of element for us. I just think we have a lot of hockey coming up and I want to put Dors in."

The Rangers are 14-6-1 with Carcillo in the lineup, playing effectively on the fourth line with Brian Boyle and Dominic Moore. Dorsett has played twice since returning from the injury — he logged 8:42 in a March 1 contest in Philadelphia, and 10:07 in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs at The Garden last Wednesday.

"The month, month and a half, before I got hurt I was playing some really good hockey, some of the best I've played as a Ranger," Dorsett said Tuesday morning. "Then I block a shot, break my leg, and now I am fighting for my job. (Carcillo) has done a real good job. All I can do is bury my head and keep working."

Dorsett admitted frustration over injuries he has suffered the past two years. When acquired at last April's trade deadline from Columbus, Dorsett had a fractured collarbone and did not make his Blueshirts debut until the playoffs--jumping right into the heat of battle at the most important time of the year. Then the fractured leg curtailed him while he playing so well this season.

"It's been difficult, no question," added Dorsett, who has three goals, two assists, and a team-high 105 penalty minutes in 39 games this season. "I know I can play in this league. I can help this team."

Tonight in Raleigh, Dorsett will get that opportunity.

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Henrik Lundqvist makes his sixth consecutive start in goal tonight, seeking career win No. 301, which would tie him with Mike Richter for the all-time franchise record. Lundqvist and the Rangers have reeled off 10 straight wins over the Hurricanes dating to 2011, including last Friday's 4-2 victory at the PNC Arena. 

After today's morning skate Lundqvist recounted first meeting Richter at Madison Square Garden when he was 18 or 19 years old. 

"I was told Mike Richter wanted to meet me, so I was a little scared," laughed Lundqvist. "I have a lot of respect for this guy, and then they force me into this room and he's right there, so that's the first time I met him. It was cool. Watching my first game at MSG, and to meet (Richter)."

Richter was 301-258-73 in 666 career games with the Rangers. Lundqvist enters play 300-191-61 in 560 career games.