W2W4: Senators vs. Rangers

For those that missed it, there’s a great quote at the end of Scott Burnside’s blog post today from Rangers assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld about resting players for the playoffs.

"We don't even allow ourselves to go there," Schoenfeld said. "We still have a lot of points on the table. There's a lot that can happen. We tell our players, 'You can't exhale.'"

So consider the Rangers ready to welcome cellar-dwelling Ottawa tonight with all the stars they have at their disposal, red-faced and blue-sweatered. Here’s what to watch for the when the puck drops at the Garden.

Staal Progress

After missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury, top D-man Marc Staal will be back in the lineup tonight, according to Matt Ehalt.

How effective will the shutdown blueliner be in his first game back? He should be able to ease into the routine against the Senators. Ottawa ranks second-to-last in the league in scoring with just 2.27 goals per game. They’ve been a little hotter lately though, scoring 14 goals in their past five games.

Lundqvist Keeps Tickin’

You can’t argue with results and Henrik Lundqvist has been sterling, posting his 10th shutout Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. It’s impressive that the stopper has been able to stay strong after what seems like 82 consecutive starts. With no off days in sight until the Rangers clinch a playoff spot (at least not judging by that quote), Lundqvist may have some extra incentive to stay sharp. The sooner they win that playoff berth, the sooner he can take a breather.

High Flyin’ Ryan

Ryan Callahan has been explosive in the month of March. Now apparently fully healed from the broken hand he suffered in mid-December, the Rangers winger has been torching opponents since the end of February. Since March 1, Callahan has notched a team-best seven goals and 15 points. His effort, as always, has been appreciated by Rangers fans ... and the fantasy hockey owner of Don Cherry’s Fashion Consiliaris, who is embroiled in the playoffs right now.