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At the Rink blog

Hamrlik back in on Rangers' blue line

Thursday, 03.14.2013 / 2:09 PM

By Patrick Williams - NHL.com Correspondent / 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

WINNIPEG -- The New York Rangers (13-10-2) held a lively practice Wednesday after the team's arrival here in preparation for a date Thursday with the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre.

Eighth-place in the Eastern Conference is at stake for the clubs, who each have 28 points.

Roman Hamrlik likely will return to the Rangers' defensive rotation after a two-game absence, replacing Matt Gilroy. Defenseman Marc Staal remains injured and will miss his fifth consecutive game, leaving the Rangers to look for help to ease some of the burden on their blue line's top four.

"It's crucial that someone steps up in the five-six spot," coach John Tortorella said. "When you lose a guy like Marc Staal, and we have guys playing minutes that they're not used to playing, we'd really like to get a rotation of six [defensemen] playing. But we also have to try to win each game, so that's where we're making the call on the bench. We have a few guys looking to take that spot."

Forward Arron Asham participated in practice Wednesday, but is not expected to return to the Rangers' lineup against the Jets.

Henrik Lundqvist will start in goal for the eighth time in the team's past nine contests.

Here is the Rangers' possible lineup:

Carl HagelinBrad RichardsRick Nash

Marian GaborikDerek StepanRyan Callahan

Taylor PyattJ.T. MillerBrian Boyle

Micheal HaleyJeff HalpernDarroll Powe

Ryan McDonaghDan Girardi

Michael Del ZottoAnton Stralman

Roman HamrlikSteve Eminger

Henrik Lundqvist

Martin Biron

Scratched: Stu Bickel, Matt Gilroy

Injured: Arron Asham (back), Michael Sauer (concussion), Marc Staal (upper body)

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1