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Monday, October 18, 2010

Lundqvist Trying To Find a Rhythm

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Injuries to Marian Gaborik and Chris Drury have forced the Rangers to alter their lineup. But nothing’s changed for Henrik Lundqvist.

"Whatever the lineup is, I approach it the same way," said the goalie, who’ll make his fourth straight start as the Rangers host the Colorado Avalanche tonight.

Artem Anisimov’s line with Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan will be the only one intact from the first three games. Left wing Alex Frolov will be put with rookie center Derek Stepan and Ruslan Fedotenko and left wing Sean Avery will join center Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust on a new third line.

Meanwhile, coach John Tortorella is allowing his franchise goalie to establish rhythm though the light early-season schedule, though backup Marty Biron may start a game later this week with six games in 10 days starting Thursday.

Lundqvist’s numbers haven’t been great as the Rangers have started 1-1-1. He has a 3.96 goals-against average compared to his 2.34 career average and an .886 save percentage against .917 for his career.

But the Rangers’ defensive zone coverage was suspect in Friday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs and Monday’s 6-4 loss to the Islanders. Tortorella spent the bulk of Sunday’s practice and classroom time working on it.

"We don’t have to give up defense to create more offense," Tortorella said.

Lundqvist said he doesn’t care whether the games are freewheeling, as they’ve been this season, or tighter as was the case most of last season.

He just wants to find his mid-season form. Tortorella said Lundqvist was "much better" Friday than he was against the Islanders.

"With a couple of more games, hopefully you’ll really feel like you’re in it," Lundqvist said. "You just feel comfortable and make the right decisions. In the middle of the year, you look to get a couple of solid games, a couple of good wins. Now, you want to have that perfect game. I think my game is getting there. You don’t want to give up that many goals but you have to look at the big picture."

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