Newly acquired defenseman Jeff Woywitka will make his debut with the Rangers when they take on the rival Islanders at Nassau Coliseum tomorrow, per Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants. Michael Sauer (shoulder) hasn't practiced since last Saturday's loss to the Anaheim Ducks and now with him and Marc Staal both out of the lineup, we could be looking at some serious problems on defense for the Blueshirts.
McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Del Zotto - Erixon
Woywitka - Eminger
Beyond the first pairing there are a lot of question marks there. The Islanders have some talent up front that cannot be overlooked, so the defense is going to be forced to play a smart and structured game if they want to win tomorrow night. They had trouble doing that with Sauer in the lineup, so there isn't much hope that they will without him. And yes, Sauer does mean that much to the lineup.
Gross also noted that Wojtek Wolski (groin) is expected to sit out tomorrow, so that means Erik Christensen will be in the lineup for the second straight game. The offensive lines, as a result, will look like this...
Stepan - Richards - Gaborik
Dubinsky - Anisimov - Callahan
Fedotenko - Boyle - Prust
Rupp - Christensen - Zuccarello
“Staal got hurt and there was speculation about it but I didn’t pay much attention to it in Montreal,” Woywitka said of both Rangers general manager Glen Sather and Tortorella saying the team was looking to add a veteran defenseman. “I’m happy it’s me. I’m ready to show and show that I can play.”