Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL [Print without images]

Saturday, March 19, 2011
Henrik Lundqvist (neck) 'feels better'

By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist said his neck is still stiff and he has a tough time moving his head after getting run into Friday night, but "feels better" after treatment, according to the team's Twitter page.

He is still unsure about whether he will suit up Sunday against Pittsburgh and did not participate in the team's Saturday practice, according to the team.

"I am getting ready to play, that's still my goal, but we'll see how it feels later," Lundqvist said via the team's Twitter page. "It's just pain, nothing that can get worse ... still very stiff, but had some treatment & will have whole afternoon 2 take it easy."

Late in the third period of the Rangers' 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, Lundqvist was involved in a collision with Montreal's Benoit Pouliot.

As Pouliot tried to score, he crashed right into Lundqvist, knocking him to the ice. The training staff rushed out to check on Lundqvist, who did play the final 3:39 of the game.

After the game, Lundqvist said his neck was stiff but all the tests came up fine and there was nothing serious.

If Lundqvist cannot start Sunday, the Rangers will turn to backup goalie Chad Johnson, who would make his season debut. Johnson has spent the majority of the season with AHL Connecticut before being sent up to New York after backup goalie Martin Biron suffered a fractured collarbone Feb. 28.

"With Hank we're not sure where he's at, so for I am preparing as if I'm playing. ... That's my mindset going in," Johnson said, according to the team. "As of right now, I am preparing to play. ... I will take everything from the games that I've played [in the NHL last year and] ... use that."

Rangers coach John Tortorella did not have any qualms with the play in which Lundqvist was hurt.

"It certainly wasn't intentional, it was a hockey play," Tortorella said. "I think that's hockey. We try to take care of the [crease], we try to get to their [crease], and when there's contact I think that's part of the game. We certainly don't want to lose our goalie or get hurt but I'm not going to sit up here and whine about that stuff. I think that's a big part of hockey, trying to make plays there. We try to do it. You just play and see where it goes."

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.