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Goaltending issue ahead for Rangers

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Beginning Monday night, the Rangers will play a stretch of four games in six nights, including back to back games against the Islanders, Wednesday at the Garden, and Thursday out at the Mausoleum.

With Stephen Valiquette banished to Hartford and playing poorly there, the Rangers have a goaltending issue looming for next week. Despite the comments of John Tortorella to the contrary, it looks like he may have no choice but to start a rookie goaltender next week.

Chad Johnson, who performed well in training camp, was summoned from Hartford when Valiquette was vanquished, but was sent back down, presumably to get a start down in Hartford. Matt Zaba was called up to replace Johnson, but his time with the Rangers is most certainly temporary.

So with the glut of games next week, it will be interesting to see what the Rangers do. Best guess is Henrik Lundqvist will start Monday, then again Wednesday at home against the Islanders, then Chad Johnson makes his first NHL start Thursday night in Uniondale against the Islanders. Then Henrik can come back Saturday against Philadelphia.

This is assuming the Rangers don't use that cap space they cleared when they sent Gilroy down to pick up a veteran goalkeeper. Although let's face it, the Rangers rarely do what we think they will do, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Valiquette summoned from Hartford to make a start next week either.