AM Skate: Biron Starts, Zucc Not Gretzky

The Rangers have lost seven straight games played at the Bell Centre in Montreal, dating back four years. Martin Biron has started four of theose seven games for the Rangers, and will do so again this evening with the club closing out its three-game road trip.

Biron has appeared in 30 career games against the Canadiens, posting a 14-13-0-1 record, 2.44 goals against average, and two shutouts against them. However in his last three starts in Montreal the Rangers have been shut out, including a 3-0 defeat on February 23rd this year, leaving literally zero margin for error.

"This organization here has had some pretty ridiculous games in this building, where some crazy things have happened," noted head coach John Tortorella following Saturday's morning skate. "We had Marty in one of these games---either Ottawa or Montreal---and we decided to go with this one. I think we've played (Henrik Lundqvist) nine straight and it's been a lot of work for Hank, and we wanted to get Marty one game this week, and this is the one."

This will be Biron's fourth start in goal this season, and his first in nearly three weeks. His last start came on March 10th, an impressive 4-1 victory down in Washington, in which Biron finished with 28 saves. Overall Biron is 2-1-1 in five appearances with a 2.18 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.


Forwards Arron Asham and Darroll Powe remained on the ice with defenseman Matt Gilroy and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist following the skate to get some extra work in. It would appear that Asham, who has played three straight games since returning from a back injury, will join Powe---scratched in the previous two---and Gilroy--a scratch in eight consecutive games---on the sidelines tonight.

Mats Zuccarello will make his season debut after re-signing with the club on Thursday. Following the morning skate he tried to downplay what affect his return will mean to the club.

"There are so many good players here that can fill every role, so I just have to try and play my game and work hard," explained Zuccarello. "It's not like we are winning the Stanley Cup because I am coming back, I'm not (Wayne) Gretzky! But I will try and create a spark."

No matter the lineup, the Rangers are still seeking consistency in their all-around game---especially offensively. With 15 games remaining on the schedule and the Rangers fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, time is running out to find that elusive consistent play.

"I thought we showed some personality against Philly, we had conviction in our play, it's like we were going to win this game instead of the mindset of we hope we are going to win this game," explained Tortorella. "There are a lot of things you can't control in this game, but one of them is you can control how you play, and we have not done a good enough job of that consistently. There is still time to figure it out, but we are running out of it. We can't keep taking steps backwards. There's not more time for that."

Added alternate captain Brad Richards this morning, "That's probably why we got into this mess, because we are not playing the right way conistently enough. The game treats you well when you treat it well, and that's what we have to focus on: playing the right way."

Following tonight's contest in Montreal, the Rangers host the Jets at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. Of their final 14 games after this evening, the Blueshirts will play six at home and eight on the road.

What do you make of Marty Biron startin tonight, and the quotes from Brad Richards and John Tortorella? Share your comments below.


Mar 30 - 5:06pm