Lundqvist expects to return from neck injury before playoffs

NEW YORK (AP) Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist expressed hope he would return from a throat-area injury before the start of the playoffs.

Lundqvist was injured when he was struck with a shot last Saturday against Carolina. He called the problem a ''blood vessel injury'' that will be reevaluated in two to three weeks.

''You can't take a risk on this,'' the 32-year-old Lundqvist said Sunday. ''I have to listen to the doctors. I feel great walking around but I don't want to push this injury.''

The Rangers initially said Lundqvist was day to day with a neck injury after he was hit with the high shot when a teammate accidently lifted the goalie's mask and exposed his throat during a 4-1 win over Carolina. Lundqvist also played in Monday's 6-3 win over the Florida Panthers.

Lundqvist said he started experiencing headaches after the Florida game. Doctors then decided to continue evaluating his condition.

''It shocked me to hear that I will be out for a while,'' he said. ''I'm happy we caught this.''

Cam Talbot has started in Lundqvist's place, winning 3-2 over Boston on Wednesday and losing 3-2 at Nashville on Saturday. Talbot also started Sunday's game against the Stars. The Rangers recalled 20-year-old Mackenzie Skapski from AHL Hartford as the backup.

''Cam has been playing really well,'' Lundqvist said. ''We're all confident in him.''

Lundqvist is 16-4-0 with a 1.82 goals against average in his last 20 games and 25-11-3 overall this season.

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