Ten position players and both goalies took part in the Rangers optional morning skate Saturday, including team captain Ryan Callahan and just-recalled defenseman Tim Erixon. Callahan, who has missed the last three games with a sore foot, said he felt good again this morning and plans on playing this evening against the Avalanche at Madison Square Garden.
"It's always exciting to get back in when you miss any period of time, but especially this time of year when we are battling for first place in the division and these games mean so much," Callahan said this morning. "I'm sure even just missing one game you get butterflies to get back in there again, so it'll take a shift or two to get your feet underneath you."
On Friday, Callahan skated on a line with Derek Stepan and Brandon Dubinsky. He reported on Saturday that his conditioning level is good, and that his foot has improved so much that he no longer is using a walking boot.
Henrik Lundqvist, who did not dress for the last two games due to the flu, likely will make the start in goal for the Rangers tonight. He was the first goalie off the ice after the skate, and he said afterwards that he feels he is ready for game action again.
There is no definitive word on the Rangers lineup since head coach John Tortorella will not speak to the media until later this afternoon, but defensemen Anton Stralman and Jeff Woywitka were the last two players on the ice this morning, working on conditioning with assistant coach Mike Sullivan. That could be a sign that Erixon, the 21 year-old rookie from Sweden, and Michael Del Zotto, who has missed four straight games with a sore hip, both will be in the Rangers lineup this evening.