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At the Rink: Rangers at Blue Jackets

by Craig Merz

COLUMBUS -- New York Rangers center Derek Stepan will be a game-time decision at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, coach Alain Vigneault said.

Stepan sustained an upper-body injury during a 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday and did not dress for the 3-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Thursday.

"He got a good skate this morning, did treatments again when he got here tonight," Vigneault said Friday afternoon. "We'll decide during warm-up whether he plays or not."

Vigneault did not say who would come out of the lineup if Stepan plays.

The Rangers (24-13-4) have been shut out for the past 164:57 except for an empty-net goal by Rick Nash in the final minute Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.

"It's in the back of their minds, but at the end of the day you just have to continue to do the right things on the ice," Vigneault said. "If you do the right things, goals will come. We had some real good looks last game.

"We had two breakaways in the first. [Carl Hagelin] hit the post. Nash gets another breakaway in the second."

Columbus (18-20-3) has lost three straight and coach Todd Richards has to decide if left wing Matt Calvert, who missed the skate Friday because of illness, will be healthy enough to play.

Right wing Josh Anderson, the 95th selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut.

Anderson was called up Thursday from Springfield of the American Hockey League, where he had four goals, seven assists and 56 penalty minutes in 37 games.

"It's a great moment. Not everyone gets this opportunity," Anderson said.

A spot became available when forward Jack Skille went on injured reserve because of a lower-body injury sustained Jan. 9 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Richards said he's liked the reports from Springfield on Anderson.

"He's physical," Richards said. "He's going to bring some good energy to our group tonight."

Anderson will be with center Mark Letestu and left wing Sean Collins, a teammate for much of the season in Springfield.

"It's going to help a lot," Anderson said. "[Collins] knows the systems down there in Springfield."

Anderson said his parents are making the trip from his hometown of Burlington, Ontario, for the game. He wasn't sure the opportunity would come this season even though he had a good preseason.

"I was a little bit shocked," he said of the promotion. "I didn't know what was going on up here. Once I was down there I was thinking I was going to be there the remainder of the year."

Here are the projected lineups:


Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider - Kevin Hayes - Martin St. Louis

Carl Hagelin - Dominic Moore - Lee Stempniak

Tanner Glass - J.T. Miller - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Kevin Klein - Matt Hunwick

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: John Moore

Injured: Derek Stepan (upper body)


Scott Hartnell - Ryan Johansen - Nick Foligno

Jeremy Morin - Alexander Wennberg - Cam Atkinson

Sean Collins - Mark Letestu - Josh Anderson

Corey Tropp - Brandon Dubinsky - Jared Boll

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Kevin Connauton - James Wisniewski

Dalton Prout - Fedor Tyutin

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Cody Goloubef, Jordan Leopold

Injured: Artem Anisimov (torn triceps), Brian Gibbons (knee), Nathan Horton (back), Boone Jenner (back), Ryan Murray (knee), Jack Skille (lower body), Matt Calvert (illness)

Status report: Prout replaces Goloubef as the lone defense pairing change for Columbus.

Who's hot: The Rangers' loss at Boston was their first in five road games. New York is 8-2-0 in their past 10 road games. … With a goal against the Canadiens, Johansen broke the Blue Jackets record of 10 straight games with at least a point. He has seven goals and six assists in the past 11 games.

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