Rangers Rumors & News
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The Rangers return to full health this Thursday night as they attempt to beat the Islanders for this first time in four attempts this season.

Martin StrakaLast Friday night Martin Straka made his return to the ice after taking a slap shot to his wrist from Zdeno Chara over a month ago.  Thursday Ryan Callahan should return to the lineup and Marek Malik will be eligible to play. 

“It was a pretty hard practice today and I felt pretty good out there,” Callahan told Newsday.  “I think Thursday’s pretty realistic.”

If Callahan does return it appears he will skate with Petr Prucha and Chris Drury, but Malik’s return is not immediately certain.  While he has recovered from bruised ribs and a bad back the Rangers defense has been playing so well lately there is no obvious choice of who to scratch. 

“The way we’re clicking right now, he might have to wait a game or two and see if anything evolves,” Head Coach Tom Renney told Newsday.

When he does eventually get back into the lineup it is likely that Jason Strudwick will be the one to sit.  Paul Mara is the other option, but Michal Rosival could get a few days off to rest his knee.

Ryan CallahanSince his return Straka has been skating on the top line with Jaromir Jagr and Brandon Dubinsky, however that line may get tinkered with.  Jagr has only one point over his past six games and skated with Straka and Drury late in the game against the Dallas Stars Sunday night and may continue to do so in order to jump start his offense.

Part of the reason the Rangers have struggled against the Islanders this season is the anemic attempts by their power play.  Against the Islanders they are a combined 1-for-14 with a man advantage, which is more disturbing considering all three games have been decided by one goal.

Lately the power play unit has been bad against everyone.  Over the past eight games they are 3-for-39; meanwhile they have had the second most chances in the NHL with 122.  This is something that Renney thinks is improving, “Believe it or not, it’s better than it’s been,” he told the NY Daily News after the unit was shutout in six attempts Sunday night.  “I thought we showed some good puck movement. I thought we had some chances.”

Notice he didn’t say it’s been good he simply said better and it obviously can’t get worse after they failed to sustain any offensive zone presence even once in five chances last time the Rangers played the Islanders.

Rob Abruzzese’s articles can also be read In The Dirt

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