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• Game Notes
• Parenteau Called Up from Hartford
By Jim Cerny, newyorkrangers.com
Looking to get back on the winning track, the Rangers skate against the Ottawa Senators in a matinee affair this afternoon at Scotiabank Place.
The Rangers, coming off a 5-3 home-ice loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night, have had struggles of late on the road, where they are 1-4-1 in their previous six games
Once again the Rangers will play without injured centers Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky. To help fill that void, the Rangers recalled 26-year-old forward P.A. Parenteau from the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday. He takes the place of forward Dane Byers, who was returned to American Hockey League.
“He’s more of an offensive type player, and he’s got some skill and can help us out on the power play at times,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said of Parenteau. “We’re hoping he can kick a goal in for us along the way here. He deserves to be brought up here as opposed to others.”
This is Parenteau’s second recall this season. At the end of October, he played two games in the place of the injured Marian Gaborik, and contributed his first NHL goal on Oct. 28 against the Islanders.
Down at Hartford, Parenteau was tied for the AHL lead in goals with 10 and ranked second in the AHL with 20 points. A year ago, Parenteau was a First Team AHL All-Star, ranking ninth in the league with 78 points.
“My confidence could not be any higher,” stated Parenteau, who was in the midst of a seven-game AHL point streak at the time of his recall. “It’s great timing for me. I’ll try and transfer that confidence I have in the minors and bring it back up with me to the Rangers.”
Two years ago, Parenteau scored 34 goals with Hartford. Last year he notched 29. That is the type of shot in the arm the Rangers need offensively right now.
“I was a little nervous the two games I played (with the Rangers),” said Parenteau, who has played a total of seven NHL games with the Rangers and Blackhawks in his career. “This time I plan on being a little more confident with the puck, making more plays, and really show what I can do.”
Although forward line combinations from practice do not always translate into games under Tortorella, Parenteau skated with Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik during Friday’s up-tempo one-hour practice. If that remains the same for today’s game, then Parenteau will clearly be called upon to produce in an offensive role.
Higgins, who has three points in his last four games, was shifted from the wing to center during Friday’s practice, and Tortorella said he will give him a look in the middle this afternoon.
Of course, the bulk of the playing time at center will fall to veteran Vinny Prospal, who played nearly 28 minutes during Thursday’s contest, taking a whopping 41 of the game’s 70 faceoffs.
“I am going to lean on him, because I trust how hard he competes,” said Tortorella. “I think that is very important. Maybe he made some mistakes, but I am going to go with the guy that competes hard.”
Tortorella did mention that he would like to lighten Prospal’s work load -- as well as that of Gaborik, who played more than 26 minutes on Thursday -- and would consider playing him less during penalty-killing situations. If that scenario plays out, the head coach said that Parenteau and Artem Anisimov would get a shot to kill penalties.
Gaborik, meanwhile, keeps rolling along, whether at even strength, the power play, or during the penalty kill. He notched a goal and an assist on Thursday, and now has a team-high 13 goals and 24 points this season in 17 games.
The benchmark for consistency, Gaborik has recorded at least one point in all but two of the games he has played in as a Ranger. He currently has five points (2-3-5) in his last three games.
Tonight will mark the Rangers’ second of four meetings with the Senators this season. The Blueshirts earned their first win of the 2009-10 season back on Oct. 3 with a rousing 5-2 home-ice victory over Ottawa. Gaborik had a goal and an assist that night, and Michael Del Zotto scored the game-winner with his first NHL goal.
Following this afternoon’s tilt, the Rangers head home to host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. It is the start of a three-game homestand which includes a game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday and another vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, Nov. 23.
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