That Henrik Lundqvist missed practice today should surprise no one after the collision he had last night with Benoit Pouliot late in the game. The injury to Lundqvist does not appear to be serious and is mainly said to be a stiff neck which is very good news. While Henrik has a desire to play tomorrow as related by the Rangers' official twitter account there is no reason for him to suit up tomorrow.
"I am getting ready to play, that's still my goal, but we'll see how it feels later..."
"It's just pain, nothing that can get worse..still very stiff, but had some treatment & will have whole afternoon 2 take it easy"
"my neck is still stiff, and I have a tough time moving my head...but the treatment has really helped...I'm getting there"
Yes, the Rangers are still in a huge playoff race and Buffalo’s win tonight makes it even tighter, but with a four point lead on Carolina the first goal should be having Lundqvist healthy for as many games as possible not just playing him tomorrow.
Beyond just the thought of more seriously injuring the neck by pushing it there is the concern that if he has any stiffness in the neck it limits his ability to turn his head, which unfortunately is a required aspect of playing goaltender in the NHL. As valuable an asset as Henrik is, and as crucial as he is to any playoff hopes. you exercise as much caution as possible and let him sit until Tuesday. Chad Johnson, while no Lundqvist, showed last season he can be a capable spot starter so trust him to take the game and do his job.