After missing two games with an undisclosed lower-body injury, it was back to work as usual for Dan Girardi.
The Rangers’ workhorse defenseman was assertive in last night’s 5-1 win over the Lightning at the Garden, often teaming with old back-line pal Marc Staal to shut down Tampa Bay offensive stars Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
“I think when he comes back into the lineup, it puts the minutes where they should be with the other guys,” said coach John Tortorella. “We all know who Danny is, he is such an important part. He came right back and played really well.”
Girardi logged 22:10 of ice time and had two assists and a plus-4 rating. His injury broke a streak of 145 consecutive games played, and the 28-year-old had played 450 of a possible 454 games in his six-year career.
“I think your legs aren’t always right there when you miss a couple days,” Girardi said. “A couple times I was a little tired, but other than that, I felt like myself out there.”
* Forward Brian Boyle was a healthy scratch for the second straight game after being mostly ineffective through the first nine games.
“I wasn’t going to take someone out of the lineup to force Brian back in,” Tortorella said. “I think Brian is going to be a big part of the team. But he just has to wait his turn now until we make a decision on what we do here.”
Tortorella was referring to the future of 19-year-old J.T. Miller, who played his third NHL game last night and can play two more before the first year of his entry level contract goes into effect. That is in addition to how rookie Chris Kreider continues his development and how recent trade acquisition Darroll Powe continues his incorporation into the team’s system.
“We have two kids come in, and we’re hoping they keep on growing,” Tortorella said. “And you trade for a guy you’re trying to get involved, and it jams up the lineup. What the lineup is going to be when we go to Boston [tomorrow], I don’t know.”
The Rangers finally managed to not be plagued by penalties, taking only two minors. Tortorella credited that to how much more they have had the puck.
Girardi’s return a ‘D’-light
New York Post | Feb 11