Notes: Ovie Returns, Parenteau Hurt, Johnson Shines

Mrac Staal can look forward to another matchup with Alex Ovechkin tomorrow night as the winger is expected to return to the lineup. ( John McDonnell-TWP )
Marc Staal will once again battle Alex Ovechkin as the winger returns to MSG.

Here are some quick hits from Rangers universe:

-Alex Ovechkin, who had been out with an injury, is expected to be back in the starting lineup tomorrow night when the Washington Capitals visit MSG to take on the Blueshirts. Ovechkin is having another superb season (14 G, 23 P, +10 in 14 Games) and should be a tough matchup, as always, for Marc Staal and Dan Girardi.

-The Rangers have been practicing with the same lines they used during Saturday’s shootout win over Ottawa. I would expect Tortorella to stick with them at least through tomorrow night’s game.

-P.A. Parenteau went down today at practice after being hit in the head by a deflected shot off the stick of Christopher Higgins. He was helped from the ice and had blood around his ear but told reporters that he was “fine” and expected to be in the lineup tomorrow.

-Also from practice, Coach Torts says that he wants to increase Wade Redden’s ice time giving him an opportunity to showcase his strong play as of late and at the same time he would like to see a decrease in Marc Staal’s minutes in an attempt to help Staal focus on his play “while 5-on-5”, which Torts says is the most important part of the young defenseman’s game.

-As for the Rangers AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolfpack, things are looking very good as of late due to the stellar play of netminder Chad Johnson. Johnson has recorded back to back shutouts for the Wolfpack and continues to impress his coaches and teammates with each passing day. Johnson, who was acquired from the Penguins in a draft day trade, was very impressive in training camp and could very well be a player to watch in the organization as a possible replacement for Stephen Valiquette down the road or a valuable trade chip come deadline time. For more on Johnson’s consecutive shutouts click here.

-In absurd rumor news, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun wrote over the weekend that the Rangers were holding trade discussions with the Canadiens concerning talented/troubled brothers Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn. File this rumor in the “Makes no sense” drawer as the last thing the Blueshirts need is two headcases who can’t stay on the ice and out of the newspapers. Mr. Garrioch, If you are going to link the Rangers to a pair of brothers, next time can you make it the much more desirable/talented Sedins.

-Finally, the Rangers pursuit of Peter Forsberg may be over as there are various reports today that the center will remain in Sweden to play with Elite League club Modo. As you know, nothing is definite until a contract is signed so we’ll keep you updated if anything changes.

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