Tonight will be the first time the Rangers take on the Devils this season, and it will be on the same Newark ice where the Blueshirts’ postseason ended last May in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. But in the face of a condensed, 48-game schedule, coach John Tortorella sees it in no historical context, just another step in his team’s progression. “This is another game for us and we’re just trying to get consistent with our game,” Tortorella said after yesterday’s practice. “I don’t care who we’re playing.” It turns out his players do care, as they appreciate the rivalry and look forward to it. And at the top of that list is goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has dominated the Devils — and their legendary netminder Martin Brodeur — throughout his career. “It was a great series,” Lundqvist said about last season. “What makes it special is just that we played against them so many times, had so many great games. That’s what makes these games special, there’s a history to it what happened in the past — and for the new players coming in to understand it’s a big game for us in here and for the fans.” * Captain Ryan Callahan participated in a full practice, wearing a no-contact yellow jersey. He is recovering from a partial dislocation of his left shoulder, suffered during a fight with the Flyers’ Max Talbot last Tuesday. “Today was a big day in terms of shooting,” Callahan said. “It’s the most work I’ve done with it, so we’ll see how it reacts. It’s the first step of me coming back.” When asked if he has a target return date in mind, Callahan paused and then joked saying, “Yes,” but implied he wasn’t going to divulge when that would be. If the seven-to-10-day prognosis he gave yesterday is correct, that could have him back for the Rangers-Islanders game at the Garden on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. “You want to be on the ice, you want to be with the guys, you want to do everything you can to help them win,” Callahan said. “But at the same time, [injuries] are part of the game and you have to accept it and try to recover as fast as you can.” Workhorse defenseman Dan Girardi was the only player given the day off for maintenance.
Rangers face Devils for first time since Conference finals
New York Post | Feb 5