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At the Rink blog

Richards returning to Rangers lineup; Lundqvist starts

Friday, 03.08.2013 / 5:50 PM

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers center Brad Richards will return to the lineup Friday after missing two games with back and neck stiffness stemming from a hit by Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta on Sunday.

Richards returned to that game but had yet to practice since the hit that earned Kaleta a five-game suspension.

Richards tried to participate in the Rangers' morning skate Tuesday, but left the ice immediately. Rangers coach John Tortorella said Richards skated Friday afternoon to test his injuries and felt good enough to play.

The Rangers face the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET.

In Richards' absence, 19-year-old rookie J.T. Miller moved into the Rangers' top-six forwards, centering the club's second line with Derek Stepan taking over in the middle of the first line. The Rangers were 2-0-0 without Richards and have won four straight.

Richards has two goals and 11 assists in 20 games. He had gone 15 games without a goal before his injury.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist will make his sixth straight start.

These are the line combinations and defense pairings the Rangers showed in pregame warmups. It looks like with Richards back, the Rangers have chosen to make Brian Boyle a healthy scratch.

Carl Hagelin – Brad Richards – Rick Nash

Marian Gaborik – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan

Darroll Powe – J.T. Miller – Taylor Pyatt

Micheal Haley – Jeff Halpern – Stu Bickel


Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi

Michael Del Zotto – Anton Stralman

Roman Hamrlik – Steve Eminger


Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

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It means a lot to us, we're very excited. We're looking to continue to build on [our] top core talent of young players. It's just a great opportunity for us to really build high.

— Panthers vice president of hockey operations Travis Viola after Florida won the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft Lottery