Brandon Dubinsky will most likely be suiting up for the Rangers tonight against the Atlanta Thrashers. It will be Dubi's first action since breaking a bone in his hand Nov. 7 against the Calgary Flames.
The return of Dubinsky could not have come at a more critical point for the Rangers. The Rangers—who are in desperate need of scoring—will slot Dubinsky between their leading scoring Marian Gaborik, and Christopher Higgins.
Vinny Prospal, who had been playing with Gaborik since the beginning of the season, will be dropped to the second line with Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury in an effort to find a more balanced scoring attack.
Dubinsky, who signed a two-year $3.7 million contract after holding out through training camp, has three goals and 10 points through 18 games this season.
Also joining Dubinsky back in the lineup tonight is Enver Lisin.
Lisin has found himself in coach John Tortorella's doghouse as of late, being scratched four of the previous six games.
Lisin, who was brought to the Rangers via trade over the offseason, has the potential to be an above-average goal scorer—if he is given the opportunity.
Lisin, if not being scratched, has been regulated to garbage minutes, if he's allowed to play at all lately—Lisin dressed for a game Nov. 28 against Pittsburgh but did not see the ice for one second.
If Tortorella wants scoring, he needs to do two things: Allow the lines to gel together for longer than a shift before breaking them up, and, balance the minutes more efficiently.
It is no secret that Torts likes to play his best players the most, but to what extent?
It serves guys like Lisin, Artem Anisimov, P.A. Paranteau, Erik Christensen, and even recent call-up Ilkka Heikkinen no purpose to play five-to-six minutes a game.
Not only is it not giving them the proper chance to develop, but it is harming the top players, who are no doubtedly going to wear down as the season progresses—especially the ones who are playing in the 2010 Olympics.
Aaron Voros and Erik Christensen will be healthy scratches tonight to make room for Dubinsky and Lisin.
With Dubinsky back in the lineup, Tortorella and the Rangers will hope to have a different outcome than the last time they played Atlanta, which was a 5-3 shellacking on Nov. 12.