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At the Rink: Rangers at Flyers

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh will return to the lineup Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.

"Talked to the doctors this morning, talked to Jim Ramsay when he got up this morning and he's good to go," Vigneault said.

McDonagh has not played since sustaining a separated shoulder Nov. 1 against the Winnipeg Jets.

"He's definitely a big part of our defensive group," Vigneault said. "I'm not exactly sure how much we'll play him today. We're playing three games in four [days] … we'll see how he does. We'll see how he feels. He's definitely a big part of our defensive group. We'll see how he's feeling [as the game goes on]. But he's 100 percent and he's ready to go."

With McDonagh's return, John Moore will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Matt Hunwick will play on the third defense pair with Kevin Klein.

"It's not that he [Moore] is playing bad," Vigneault said. "I just feel Hunwick has been a bit more dependable with the puck. They've both got good moments. With [McDonagh] coming back either one of them will play on our third pair. I just thought with [Klein], Hunwick would be a good fit."

Also out Friday for the Rangers is forward Tanner Glass, who Vigneault said woke up Friday morning with flu-like symptoms and was sent home.

Flyers coach Craig Berube opted not to speak with the media prior to the game Friday. However, the effort of some of the players that Berube questioned after a 5-2 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday remained in question Thursday.

"I don't know if it's passengers," general manager Ron Hextall told on Thursday. "My biggest concern is consistency. Last night was a prime example. We play extremely well in the first period. We play well in the third period. … We played really well for two periods and very poorly for one period. Is that trying? Is that frustration because we play well the first period and come out down a goal? That's a thing we have to overcome as a group and respond to adversity."

Hextall also said he was hoping to see some consistent production beyond the top line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Brayden Schenn. One line that could provide that is rookie Scott Laughton centering left wing Michael Raffl and right wing Wayne Simmonds.

"The chemistry of our lines has been so-so," Hextall said. "Obviously [the top] line has been fine. Chemistry otherwise has been so-so, which is why I am kind excited about that [Laughton] line. There seems to be some chemistry and they seem to read off each other. They give each other the puck in the right places and create opportunities."

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Martin St. Louis

Rick Nash - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Carl Hagelin - Kevin Hayes - Anthony Duclair

Lee Stempniak- Dominic Moore - Jesper Fast

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Dan Boyle

Matt Hunwick - Kevin Klein

Cam Talbot

Henrik Lundqvist

Scratched: John Moore

Injured: Tanner Glass (flu)


Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Michael Raffl - Scott Laughton - Wayne Simmonds

Matt Read - Sean Couturier - R.J. Umberger

Zac Rinaldo - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vincent Lecavalier

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Nick Schultz - Michael Del Zotto

Andrew MacDonald - Braydon Coburn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Carlo Colaiacovo, Luke Schenn

Injured: Kimmo Timonen (blood clots), Chris VandeVelde (upper body)

Status report: Talbot will be in net for the Rangers. It's his first game since his 31-save shutout of the Flyers on Nov. 19. However, Vigneault said playing Talbot on Friday is more about the schedule, which has the Rangers playing the Flyers again Saturday in New York. … The Flyers sent forward Jason Akeson to Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Friday.

Who's hot: Nash has goals in three straight games and enters Friday second in the NHL with 15 goals. … Voracek and Giroux have 10 of the Flyers' 27 goals in the past 11 games.


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