Ill goalie Lundqvist misses game against Islanders

Updated: December 19, 2006, 9:23 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The already depleted New York Rangers took another hit just hours before they played the New York Islanders on Tuesday night when starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist took a sick day.

Lundqvist, who gave up eight goals on 24 shots during two periods of a loss at Toronto on Saturday, skated Tuesday morning but called team trainer Jim Ramsay about three hours before game time and said he was unable to play because of the flu.

Kevin Weekes made his second straight start and fourth in six games. He was backed up by Al Montoya, who took a helicopter to New York from Hartford after he was recalled on an emergency basis from the AHL.

Weekes allowed six goals on 28 shots in a home loss to the New Jersey Devils on Sunday.

The pressure was on him to be more stingy because the Rangers were also missing forwards Matt Cullen and Michael Nylander and defenseman Marek Malik.

Cullen, who had three goals in three games after going 17 without one, missed his second straight contest because of a knee sprain sustained against Toronto. Nylander joined his Swedish countryman Lundqvist on the sideline with the flu that has cost him two games.

Right winger Ryan Callahan was also recalled from Hartford on Tuesday and was immediately inserted into the lineup. He took the roster spot of struggling defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, who cleared waivers earlier in the day and was assigned to the AHL team.

Ozolinsh never really clicked with the Rangers after he was acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline last season. Defensive mistakes during the Rangers' first-round playoff loss to New Jersey caused fans to turn on him and led to his benching for the fourth and final game of the Devils' sweep.

Just days later, he was arrested on a drunken driving charge that was later reduced to driving while impaired. Ozolinsh, 34, had three assists while playing in 21 of New York's previous 27 games. He missed the first seven this season as he recovered from reconstructive knee surgery.

Thomas Pock was recalled from Hartford on Monday and played against the Islanders, filling in for Malik who strained a groin Sunday against New Jersey.

The Islanders got some help on their front lines as forward Trent Hunter returned after missing five games with a sprained knee. Hunter, who had four goals and two assists in 26 games, was injured on Dec. 3 in the Islanders' 7-4 road victory over the Rangers.

He took the place of right winger Arron Asham, who missed his first game of the season because of a nagging wrist injury.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press