A fixture in the Rangers lineup since being recalled from the AHL, New York center Sean Avery will be a healthy scratch tonight against Florida. Erik Christensen, who hasn’t played since Nov. 23, will draw back in.
“I don’t think Sean’s been dead-on,” head coach John Tortorella told ESPN New York. “Having said that, he hasn’t got a bunch of ice time. I’m just having problems finding ice for him. I have other guys that are filling areas and doing what I need done and I’m a little concerned about shootouts.”
This is obviously a nod to Christensen’s shootout prowess. One of the most successful takers since the shootout was implemented, he’s gone 24-for-46 over his career — the ninth-most goals in NHL history.
It’s also a nod to Avery’s declining role on the team. He’s only seen 10-plus minutes of action twice this year and played 29:38 over the last five games, with the enforcer/agitator minutes being eaten up by Brandon Prust and Andre Deveaux.
Christensen will center New York’s fourth line between Prust and Brandon Dubinsky, but his offensive abilities will see him get some second-unit powerplay time as well.
“You can see he shows signs of his talent, his skill, but again it’s a shift here a shift there,” Tortorella said. “We’re hoping he can become more consistent”
Yeah yeah, lingering beef alert. The last time these two played, Rangers forward Andre Deveaux received a 10-minute match penalty for deliberate injury after elbowing Tomas Fleischmann in the head:
Deveaux received a three-game suspension for the hit, one that drew the ire of Panthers head coach Kevin Dineen.
“The refs certainly got the right call calling a match penalty,” Dineed said. “That’s the kind of thing, again at the end of the year, you put together tapes of what’s really wrong with the game, that hit would be one of them.”