- Posted: 1:16 PM, January 31, 2012
It will mark the first time since Dec. 17, 2006, covering a span of 32 regular-season games and five in the playoffs, that the Rangers will start a goaltender other than Lundqvist in the Battle of the Hudson. It will mark the first time Lundqvist will act as a backup at the Devils' Newark arena that opened in 2007-08, a stretch encompassing 14 regular-season matches and three 2008 playoff games.
The decision by head coach John Tortorella for the first game following the All-Star break removes one of the Rangers' great advantages in the intraural battle, with Lundqvist owning a 21-5-5 career regular-season record against Martin Brodeur, who will be in nets for the Devils. Lundqvist has a 1.62 GAA average in his head-to-head matchups against Brodeur, who carries a 2.29 GAA in their personal rivalry.
"I'm so used to playing against them that I thought I was playing before I found out yesterday," said Lundqvist, who was brilliant in a 4-1 victory at New Jersey on Dec. 20 in a game in which his team was outshot 17-6 in the first 29:30 and 31-21 overall. "After being at the All-Star Game, though, it gives me another day to relax a little bit and to prepare."
Tortorella said he is going with Biron so Lundqvist could get an additional day of practice after the break that began last Wednesday.
"You could get pulled 10 different ways on this," said Tortorella, who is expected to go with Lundqvist tomorrow night in Buffalo. "I just wanted to make sure Henrik would get in a good second practice."