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With Lundqvist ailing, Rangers recall Hellberg from AHL

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Henrik Lunqvist topples the goal in a failed attempt to alert the officials to his neck spasms.Gene J. Puskar/AP

Henrik Lunqvist topples the goal in a failed attempt to alert the officials to his neck spasms.

WASHINGTON – Henrik Lundqvist predictably is not well enough even to back up Antti Raanta Friday night in the nation’s capital.

The Rangers will start Raanta against the Capitals and recalled Magnus Hellberg from the AHL on Friday morning on an emergency basis to sit on the bench, due to Lundqvist’s injury in Thursday night’s 4-1 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

Lundqvist was experiencing “neck spasms,” coach Alain Vigneault said, after a collision with teammate Ryan McDonagh about six minutes into the second period. He flipped out and pushed his own net off its moorings out of frustration when he tried to tell the referees he was injured but the officials did not stop play.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury mocked Lundqvist’s eruption and toss of the net as “baby stuff.”

Antti Raanta (l.) will get the start in Henrik Lundqvist's place Friday night with Hellberg as the backup.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Antti Raanta (l.) will get the start in Henrik Lundqvist’s place Friday night with Hellberg as the backup.

But Friday morning, none other than Caps goalie Braden Holtby said he would have done the same thing Lundqvist did if he was injured on a play and added that he believes Lundqvist’s delay of game penalty was unwarranted, per Chuck Gormley of CSN Mid-Atlantic, a Capitals beat writer.

Defenseman Marc Staal (flu), the fourth Ranger to contract the flu in the past two weeks, sat out Thursday night’s loss to Pittsburgh and flew separately from the team to D.C. on Friday morning to get extra sleep and try and prevent a further spread.

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