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Game 45: Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers

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Ottawa Senators
@ New York Rangers

Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 7:00 PM EST
Madison Square Garden

Enemy: Blueshirt Banter

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The Ottawa Senators are back in action tonight in the Big Apple, taking on the Rangers. Returning to the lineup is Erik Karlsson after missing last game due to his mysterious pre-game-warmup injury, so Matt Carkner will be seated up in the press box. Craig Anderson will make his 12th consecutive start for Ottawa, while the Rangers will counter with Henrik Lundqvist.

Expect the Senators' lines to look like this:

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Erik Condra - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Zack Smith - Bobby Butler
Kaspars Daugavins - Zenon Konopka - Chris Neil
Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Brian Lee
Craig Anderson (starter)
Alex Auld
On the Rangers side of things, Brandon Dubinsky was dealing with some soreness after the Rangers' last game, so Wojtek Wolski may play his first game in over two months tonight, which would also be the first time he plays the Senators since his elbowing infraction on Daniel Alfredsson. If Dubinsky's in the lineup, combinations might look like this:

Ryan Callahan - Brandon Dubinsky - Brad Richards
Marian Gaborik - Derek Stepan - Artem Anisimov
Carl Hagelin - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Brandon Prust - John Mitchell - Mike Rupp
Dan Girardi - Ryan McDonagh
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Stu Bickell

Read more after the jump.

Some things to watch for in tonight's game:

  • Beasts of the East: The Rangers are the class of the Eastern Conference so far, and in fact are tops in the league standings right now despite missing players for significant periods of time.
  • Clash of the Streakers: The Rangers have won five straight, and the Senators are 6-0-1 in their last seven games. Which streak will be impacted tonight?
  • Karlsson's return: Will Erik Karlsson see as much ice time as usual tonight, given the injury that caused him to miss last game?
  • Wolski's return: If Wolski does return to the Rangers lineup, the Senators have no shortage of toughness to make a statement, if they so choose: Konopka, Neil, and Z. Smith (although Carkner's out). Will they choose to do so?

Join us tonight as we await answers to these questions, and more.