- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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SECOND PERIOD: BLACKHAWKS 1, RANGERS 1
The Rangers will begin the third period with a man-advantage for 1:39 after Duncan Keith was whistled for hooking at 19:39 of the second. They are 0-for-1 on the power play so far tonight.
On the season, they rank 18thin the league with three power-play goals in 23 opportunities. If you're scoring at home, that means they'd converted on just 13% of their chances at the Garden. The lack of power-play production is just one reason why they are 1-3-1 at home.
Hawks goalie Marty Turcohad ten saves in the second period and has stopped 22 of 23 overall.
On the bright side, the Rangers have continued to block shots at an impressive clip against Chicago. They have 23 blocks through the first two periods. They entered play tonight with 190 blocks, the second-highest total in the league.
FIRST PERIOD: BLACKHAWKS 1, RANGERS 1:
The Rangers got good news on the Marian Gaborik front Monday morning when the winger skated for the first time since separating his right shoulder on Oct. 15.
Still, there's no time-table for Gaborik's return.
In the meantime, Ryan Callahan continues to help fill the void.
The Rangers winger had an assist on Brandon Dubinsky's game-tying goal at 19:40 of the first period of the Rangers-Blackhawks game on Monday.
Callahan now has four goals and eight assists in seven-plus games.
The Rangers fell behind about two minutes prior to Dubinsky's goal when Tomas Kopecky deflected Duncan Keith's shot in front of the crease and past Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist stopped 12 of the Blackhawks' 13 first-period shots.
PRE-GAME NOTES: Rangers coach John Tortorella said injured RW Marian Gaborik skated on Monday morning for the first time since suffering a separated left shoulder on Oct. 15.
Tortorella talked to Gaborik after the skate and said before Monday's night's game against the Blackhawks that Gaborik is "still a ways away."
Gaborik told reporters at the morning skate that there is no timetable for the winger's return, but this was the biggest hurdle he's cleared since going down in the third game of the season. Reports indicated that he skated without pads and took wrist shots, but did not attempt a slap shot.
Gaborik said after the skate that his stickhandling was good and his range of motion has improved.
He led the Rangers with 42 goals last season. Ryan Callahan has stepped up in his absence, netting four goals and seven assists in 10 games.
HANK IN NET:Tortorella will start Henrik Lundqvist in goal against the defending Stanley Cup champs on Monday night.
Including the start against Chicago, Lundqvist has been in the crease for nine of the Rangers' 11 games thus far and will have started three straight games counting the game against the Blackhawks.
The Rangers picked up backup Martin Biron in the offseason to spell Lundqvist. So Lundqvist may get one of the next two games off, as they are back-to-back road contests. The Rangers travel to Philadelphia Thursday and play the Devils in Newark on Friday. He started four straight games to open the season and played back-to-back nights in the Rangers home loss to Carolina last Friday and in their road win over Toronto on Saturday.
Lundqvist showed no signs of fatigue on Saturday night against the Maple Leafs, stopping 36 shots in a shutout victory. It was his first shutout of the season and the 25th of his career.
SHIFT ON THE FOURTH LINE: D Michael Sauer will replace Matt Gilroy on the Rangers' third defensive pairing against Chicago. Sauerwill play on the right side and pair with Steve Eminger on the left.
Gilroy and Derek Boogaard are both healthy scratches tonight.
"Gilroy has not played badly but I have a young kid here I want to develop," Tortorella said of the 23-year-old Sauer, who has been a healthy scratch the last three games.
BLOCK PARTY:The Rangers enter play on Monday night ranked second in the NHL in blocked shots (190). Tortorealla has emphasized the importance of blocked shots; clearly his words have resonated in the Ranger locker room.
Particularly with defenseman Dan Girardi, who ranks second in the NHL with 35 blocks.
"Teams that win more consistently in our league, that's part of our game," said Tortorella, who has encouraged players to block shots from a longer distance than five to seven feet.
On the flip side, Tortorella isn't happy with the rate of the Ranger penalties. They have a total of 143 penalty minutes through 10 games, the 13th-highest total in the league.
"It doesn't matter if you think it's a penalty. You have to understand what's being called in the National Hockey League," Tortorella said he's told his players. "So we're trying to educate them ... on how it's being called."
15hPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald