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Which Ranger Will Step Up in Vinny Prospal's Absence?

Derek PivkoCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2009

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 23:  Vinny Prospal #20 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the Florida Panthers on  December 23, 2009 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Rangers, who have climbed back into playoff contention after a four game winning streak last week, were hit with another set-back.

Vinny Prospal is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, which could keep him out as short as 10 days and as long as three weeks. Prospal is currently second on the team with points and the Rangers while Marian Gaborik is putting up NHL MVP numbers.

The Rangers have relied on Prospal and Gaborik the entire season. Now with Prospal out for as long as three weeks, the Rangers are going to have to step up in his absence.

One player that should have stepped up at the beginning of the season is Rangers captain Chris Drury.

This season Drury has come up short for the Rangers on several occasions. It wasn’t until recently when Drury finally started playing up to his potential.

In the last five games Drury has three goals and two assists. If Drury wants to continue playing in New York than now is the time for him to play his best hockey of the season with Prospal out of the lineup.

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Ryan Callahan had his best game of the year back on Dec. 17 when he had two goals and two assists against the rival New York Islanders.

Callahan is quietly second on the team in scoring, well behind Gaborik’s numbers. In the absence of Prospal, the Rangers will have to call on their alternate captain to put the pieces together.

There have been several missing pieces involving the New York Rangers this season. After starting off the season 7-1, the Rangers have cooled off to the point of freezing the Big Apple.

The Rangers have recently pulled back into contention but they have done so with Prospal in the lineup.

It will be interesting to see which Rangers hockey we will have while Prospal recovers from knee surgery.

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