Sean Avery has been recalled from his AHL exile, but that doesn't mean the controversial forward will make his season debut for the Rangers tonight when New York hosts the Anaheim Ducks at Madison Square Garden.
Avery was recalled from New York's AHL affiliate in Connecticut on Tuesday -- one day after he was placed on re-entry waivers by the Rangers. Although many fans at MSG would love to see Avery on the ice tonight, his season debut will have to wait at least one more game as head coach John Tortorella said after Wednesday's practice that he's sticking with the same lineup that posted an impressive 5-2 victory over visiting San Jose on Monday.
Avery, who has butted heads with Tortorella in the past, agreed with the coach's decision to keep him out of the lineup tonight.
"I spoke to the coaches, and I didn't skate because of re-entry waivers for a couple of days," Avery said. "And you know, really the guys played pretty good last game and had a big win, so I wouldn't change the lineup."
Avery was originally placed on waivers prior to the start of the regular season and was later shipped to the minor-league club when he wasn't claimed. In two games with the Connecticut Whale, he totaled one goal and seven penalty minutes.
The enigmatic Avery, who has made plenty of headlines on and off the ice during nine NHL seasons, is in the final year of a four-year, $15.5 million contract he signed in 2008. He had three goals, 21 assists and 174 penalty minutes in 76 games for the Rangers last season.
Monday's win over the Sharks was just the second victory in five games for the Rangers and their first win in three games this year at MSG. New York is 1-1-1 as the host after playing their first seven games of the season away from the Big Apple.
Ryan Callahan scored two goals and assisted on another for the Rangers. Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh each tallied in the first period, and Artem Anisimov lit the lamp in the second for New York, which got 24 saves from Martin Biron.
"We know they are a good team and they weren't going to lay down easily, so it was a good character win the way we stuck it out, got the lead and then held onto it," Callahan said.
The Rangers are likely to use Henrik Lundqvist in net tonight. New York's No. 1 backstop is 0-2-1 over his last three starts and has a 2-2-1 career record against Anaheim.
The Ducks, meanwhile, will try to get back on track tonight, having lost three straight and six of their last seven games. Anaheim is 1-4-2 over the down period, which comes on the heels of a four-game winning streak from Oct. 8-17.
Anaheim, which is 1-2-2 on a seven-game road trip, did record a point in its last outing, a 5-4 overtime loss to Washington on Tuesday. The Ducks led the game 3-0 midway through the second period, but the Capitals would mount a comeback. Nicklas Backstrom tied the game for the Caps with 42 seconds left in regulation and then won it at the 2:18 mark of overtime.
"We played so well early in the game and then basically self-destructed," said Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle. "They're an offensive team and put pressure on us and we didn't react very well."
Teemu Selanne had two goals and two assists to move past Dave Andreychuk for 13th place all-time in goals. Selanne has five goals on the season and 641 for his career. Current Philadelphia forward Jaromir Jagr is next on the NHL's all-time list with 651 goals.
Jonas Hiller surrendered all five goals on 40 shots. The Swiss netminder is 1-2-0 with an excellent 1.96 goals-against average in three career games versus the Rangers.
Anaheim has won its last two meetings against the Rangers, including a matchup this season on Oct. 8 in Stockholm, Sweden. New York has still taken four of seven in this series and the Ducks have dropped their last two games at MSG.