Henrik Lundqvist cleared to practice

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been medically cleared to return to practice after missing the past six weeks with a vascular injury in his neck, the team announced Tuesday.

Lundqvist has not played since Feb. 2 after suffering the vascular injury, which could have been life-threatening if it had gone undetected.

The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner suffered the injury Jan. 31 when he was struck in the neck with a shot during a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault suggested Tuesday that it could be a week or more before Lundqvist plays in a game.

"Our challenge is getting adequate practice time to get Hank up to speed," Vigneault said on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York, "and it's going to take him more than a couple of practices to get up to speed. ... It's obviously going to take a little time."

Lundqvist's first practice will be this Friday, and after that the Rangers don't have another practice until March 25.

Though it is not immediately clear how long until Lundqvist will be ready for game action, his backup, Cam Talbot, has been sensational in his absence. Talbot is 8-1-1 in his past 10 games and has recorded four straight wins, giving up just three goals during that span.

The Rangers are 15-2-3 since Lundqvist last played, on Feb. 2 in a 6-3 win over Florida.

The Rangers currently lead the Eastern Conference with 95 points, tied for the league lead with the Ducks.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Danny Knobler was used in this report.