<
>

Rangers pre-game notes

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella addressed the media before Friday night's matchup against the red-hot New Jersey Devils. Here were some of the highlights.

Line combinations: Tortorella said he'd like to give the Brandon Dubinsky-Vinny Prospal-Marian Gaborik line another chance. They'll be joined up front by three other combinations, including Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Ryan Callahan; Sean Avery-Brian Boyle-Brandon Prust; and finally, Mats Zuccarello-Erik Christensen-Wojtek Wolski.

King's effort: Struggling goaltender Henrik Lundqvist's remarkable performance between the pipes in Thursday night's 4-3 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings impressed Tortorella quite a bit. Lundqvist made 25 saves to earn his 200th career win.

"He made a couple of really big saves," Tortorella said. "I think he’s battling. He’s battling. As is the whole team. Henrik is the same way. I don’t think we’re dead-on in our game right now, but I like the fight. I think it as just a good thing where another fluky one goes in on him -- not his fault. It was just one of those goals. And he comes back and wins us the game stopping [Anze] Kopitar in the shootout."

No guts, no glory: Tortorella believes his team is finally starting to play with some guts -- something it was lacking in years past.

"I think through the play and through the ups and downs and momentum swings, I think the group of players develop that," Tortorella said. "I have felt from camp on, I just think we’re a closer team in the time I’ve been with the organization we’ve been a closer team than the other ones. If you want to get where you want to be, and we’ve still got a ways to go, that room has to sustain itself. I think that’s coming along. I think they feel good about themselves.

"Our younger players are maturing. The core of our team is our youth, and they’re maturing."

No timetable: Tortorella said he didn't have a timetable on when injured winger Ruslan Fedotenko will return. Tortorella did say Fedentenko is skating without any equipment on. He was placed on injured reserve on Feb. 20 after undergoing an appendectomy and being bothered by a sprained left shoulder.

"We really miss him," Tortorella said. "We really do miss him."

One team, one focus: Even though the Rangers are getting ready to face the NHL's hottest team on Friday night, it doesn't matter. Tortorella said he's team focus is solely on improving itself.

"We’re just concentrating on ourselves," Tortorella said. "This is a confident group that we’re playing here, and we’ve got to be ready to start this game. But nothing anything in particular from team to team. It’s just about us."

The Devils are 13-1-2 in their last 16 games and trail the Rangers by 16 points in the Atlantic Division standings.

New York is 3-1 against New Jersey this season, but lost its last matchup to the Devils, 3-2, on Feb. 3 at the Garden. The Rangers have won their last two games.