At a glance: Riding a two-game winning streak, the Rangers aim to make it three with a victory over the struggling Florida Panthers. The injury-ravaged Panthers, dead last in the Eastern Conference, have won only one game in their last seven heading into Thursday’s match at Madison Square Garden, the first meeting of the two clubs this season.
Back in action: Looking to bolster the offense, the Rangers recalled Chris Kreider from the AHL Wednesday. The 21-year-old rookie hasn’t been able to replicate the success he had last spring with a terrific NHL debut in the playoffs, but he recently registered six goals in eight games in the minors. Fourth-line tough guy Micheal Haley was sent down to the Connecticut Whale to make room for Kreider.
Rookie Race: With 12 goals and 7 assists, Panthers rookie Jonathan Huberdeau is second among league rookies in scoring, only behind Tampa Bay’s Cory Conacher, who has 22 points. Huberdeau scored a goal on his first shot of his first NHL game and ended up finishing with three points after adding a pair of assists as well.
Lundqvist “fine”: Although Henrik Lundqvist complained about headaches following a collision in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over New Jersey and did not practice with the Rangers during Wednesday’s optional skate, coach John Tortorella says the reigning Vezina Trophy winner is “fine.” Lundqvist went down in the crease after being clipped in the mask, although it was his own teammate, defenseman Dan Girardi, who knocked into him. Unfortunately for the Devils, New Jersey’s Travis Zajac was penalized on the play.
Stepan up: Centering the team’s “second” line -- which has played much more like a first -- Derek Stepan has elevated his game of late. The 22-year-old has registered a point in each of the last two games, although his play with linemates Carl Hagelin and captain Ryan Callahan extends beyond what is reflected on the scoresheet.
On the mend: Rangers team president and general manager Glen Sather will undergo surgery for prostate cancer in New York on Thursday, a source confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com. In the interim, assistant GM Jeff Gorton will assume day-to-day operations of the team. Gorton represented the organization at the NHL’s GM meetings on Toronto on Wednesday.