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Rangers Leave 'Peg, Skate In Pittsburgh

The Rangers departed frigid Winnipeg early Friday morning, landing a couple of hours later in a much more Spring-like Pittsburgh, where Saturday afternoon they will skate against the Penguins looking to end their four-game road trip on a winning note.

The team headed directly from the airport to the CONSOL Energy Center for an afternoon practice, one in which all the players except the injured Arron Asham took part. Asham, who practiced Wednesday in Winnipeg, did not take part in the morning skate Thursday and was off ice Friday, as well. There was no immediate update on his sore back.

As for head coach John Tortorella and his players, all remained positive and confident despite back-to-back 3-1 losses in Buffalo and Winnipeg on this road trip.

"I'm not down on the team," stated Tortorella after practice. "The worst thing you can do when you lose a couple of games is to start panicking. I don't think we are far off. The most important thing is our mindset. We can't talk ourselves into more of a mess."

Marian Gaborik, who was stopped on a first-period breakaway and ensuing penalty shot in Thursday's loss to the Jets, was one of several players who were preaching patience and the importance of positive thinking for a Rangers team that has now lost three of four games and fallen into ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

"We are trying not to get down," explained Gaborik. "Things tend to change quickly when you play three, four games in a week. You can be struggling, then you win two, win three. We just try and stay positive and keep working on our game."

Gaborik admitted to being frustrated by failing on his penalty shot attempt Thursday. When he returned to the bench he smashed his stick in a rare show of anger on his part.

"That penalty shot, the way it ended up being with the puck bouncing on me---just he way things are going---was frustrating," said Gaborik. "It could have been 1-1 and the game would have been totally different. But we just need to stay positive and play like we can."

The Rangers are 1-2-0 on this road trip, the longest trek away from Madison Square Garden all season. The lone win was Sunday's impressive 4-1 victory in Washington---a win that made the Blueshirts winners in five of six games overall before the two straight defeats that followed.

A victory Saturday against a red-hot Penguins squad could be exactly the tonic the Rangers seem to need before returning back home for a tilt Monday against the Hurricanes at The Garden.

"We have a chance to salvage the road trip and go .500, win a game and feel great," veteran center Jeff Halpern said following practice. "We still have a good team in here, and we have a ton of confidence in the group in here. A couple of losses, and losing three of four, is definitely a setback, but this is a good team. We'll just keep fighting for those playoff spots."

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Henrik Lundqvist was fine and practiced Friday after absorbing a shot on his thigh late in Thursday's game---the same exact spot he was hit by a shot two nights prior in Buffalo.

"It went numb for 20 or 30 seconds, but it's alright now," explained Lundqvist, who made 30 saves in Thursday's loss to the Jets. "I was just hoping that I wouldn;t get hit in that spot again---anywhere but there---and then it hit right on the same exact spot. I was like 'Are you kidding me?!"

Lundqvist is expected to play Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

Share your thoughts below on the team's mindset and how important a win would be on Saturday.

Mar 15 - 8:12pm
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