Posted on May 1, 2008 01:54 PM | Permalink
With their season on the brink, the Rangers will turn to at least one complete neophyte to somehow make his NHL debut a productive one while also asking a wounded veteran to dig down and come up with something series-prolonging.
Twenty-one-year-old forward Lauri Korpikoski is the youngster who will make his NHL debut Thursday night in the Garden when the Rangers, having lost the first three games of the Eastern Conference semifinal with the Penguins, attempt to at least get the series back to Pittsburgh for a Sunday afternoon Game 5.
Chris Drury, who suffered a rib cage injury in Game 3 so severe that he couldn't lift his arms, is the veteran who will give it a go tonight in hopes of doing something to delay post-season elimination.
Of course, the Rangers also will count on their two most important players - goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and captain Jaromir Jagr - to lead the way. For Jagr, that would mean trying to repeat the monster performance (goal, assist, 10 shots) he staged in Game 3. For Lundqvist, it would mean bouncing back from a subpar (five goals on 17 shots) outing in Game 3.
A last hurrah?
For Jagr (as well as several other veteran Rangers, including Brendan Shanahan) tonight could be his last in New York and/or the NHL.
"I don't want to think of it," Jagr said. "I'm going to play to try to win the series back, not thinking about myself. It's going to take care of itself. I'm going to try to play to win the hockey game, to have a chance to play the next game. That is my goal."
*The Rangers will be without centre Blair Betts the rest of the series as a CT scan Wednesday revealed that he had suffered a fractured orbital bone when struck by a deflected puck in Game 3. Betts will undergo facial surgery within the next few days.