Dan Girardi back Sunday for Rangers

Updated: February 11, 2013, 9:56 AM ET
By Matt Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi returned to the lineup for Sunday night's 5-1 victory against Tampa Bay.

The defenseman missed the previous two games with what the Rangers described as being "banged up." He collected two assists in the Rangers' win Sunday in 22:10 of ice time.

"I feel good," he said. "Feel like myself and just really glad I was able to get back out there."

The Rangers went 1-1 without Girardi, falling to the Devils and beating the Islanders, and gladly welcomed him back.

"I think your legs aren't always there when you miss a couple of days of practice, two games, and you just have to prepare yourself as best as you can off the ice for the game," Girardi said. "I felt pretty good. A couple of times I was a little tired, but other than that, I felt like myself out there."

He's averaging 24:55 of ice time and is as durable as they get, as he has missed just four games in his NHL career, including these past two. Girardi told reporters Friday that his undisclosed injury had been feeling better but was still nagging him.

He tried to return for Thursday's win against the Islanders but said he knew right away during the morning skate that he wouldn't be able to go. Girardi skated Friday and Sunday morning in preparation to come back.

With his return, the Rangers fielded a full lineup as forwards Ryan Callahan and Chris Kreider recently returned from injuries, too.

The Rangers went above .500 for the first time this season with Sunday's win.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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