OTTAWA, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The New York Rangers got a key player back Monday night when right wing Pavel Bure returned after missing 31 games following arthroscopic knee surgery.
Bure was in the starting lineup against the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators, making his first appearance since Dec, 6.
After undergoing arthroscopic surgery in September, Bure collected 14 goals and seven assists in 27 games. But he injured his left knee on Dec. 6 and underwent surgery on both knees 10 days later. He was expected to miss a month.
Bure, 31, was acquired from the Florida Panthers prior to last season's trade deadline and scored 12 goals in 12 games with the Rangers. But he could not help them reach the postseason, extending their drought to five years.
New York is six points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Bure's return comes three nights after the Rangers got back two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch and a week after New York re-acquired All-Star right wing Alexei Kovalev in an eight-player trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.