NEW YORK – Marian Gaborik, out six games with a concussion, will play for the Rangers (34-29-4) this afternoon against hard-hitting Philadelphia (40-18-6), coach John Tortorella announced during his pre-game press conference.
“He’s been cleared by the doctors, and he’s ready to play,” Tortorella said, adding Gaborik was fully ready to absorb physical contact. “That’s part of the game. We want him to go the other way; we want him to help us. The game of hockey, that’s part of it. He’s healthy. So we want him all in. I’m going to give him an opportunity in a lot of different situations to get him involved right away.”
Erik Christensen is a healthy scratch in Gaborik’s place.
“It was probably two or three guys we thought about,” Tortorella said. “I don’t think any one of them deserved to come out, but for today’s game against Philly this is the guy we came up with.”
Ryan McDonagh, out one game with what Tortorella called a “wretched” knee, will also play. Steve Eminger is scratched.
“He grows every day. The biggest thing you see in his game, physically, is his skating,” Tortorella said of the 21-year-old rookie defenseman. “His quickness, not only his top-end speed, but also his quickness. I think that’s helped him where he’s been out of position at certain times and his quickness on his feet ends up getting him back into it.”
Henrik Lundqvist will make his 12th consecutive start.
TORTORELLA’S PRE-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE: