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Rangers' St. Louis, Stepan could be out with flu

by Tal Pinchevsky

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers forwards Martin St. Louis and Derek Stepan missed practice Monday and could be out of the lineup when they host the Phoenix Coyotes at Madison Square Garden.

Right wing Derek Dorsett missed New York's 2-0 road win against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday with the flu, but skated Monday and could return.

"Both those guys and Dorsett are game-time decisions," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "He [Dorsett] is feeling a little bit better. We will try and sort this out as the day moves forward."

Forward J.T. Miller was in the process of being called up from Hartford of the American Hockey League in case St. Louis, Stepan or Dorsett can't go.

Defenseman John Moore did not skate after sustaining a concussion March 21. That means Raphael Diaz will skate again on the Rangers' third defense pairing, alongside Kevin Klein. Klein played on the left side Saturday in Newark but will switch back to his natural right side against Phoenix when Diaz tries playing on the left.

"[Diaz] had never played the left side and [Klein] offered to play. It was a veteran, pretty good thing to do," Vigneault said. "This morning I talked to Diaz and he's going to play the left side. We have to find out if he can play there."

Diaz also will continue to contribute to New York's power play. Having previously played on the man advantage in Montreal alongside some talented players, including P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov, Diaz said he was impressed by some of the Rangers' personnel on the power play.

"A lot of really skilled guys. Marty [St. Louis] on the side makes unbelievable plays. I remember two times he put it in the middle and it was such a nice pass," Diaz said. "I think they move the puck around really well. That's the key, move the puck quick."

Preparing for what essentially amounts to a playoff game in New York, the Coyotes got a momentary scare when forward Lauri Korpikoski left practice early after a puck ricocheted off a stick and struck him in the head. Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said after practice Korpikoski was fine.

Entering action Monday the Rangers sit third in the Metropolitan Division, one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers. The Coyotes hold the Western Conference's second wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, two points ahead of the Dallas Stars.

The playoff atmosphere both teams have grown accustomed to should continue Monday when two of the NHL's busiest goalies get the starts. Henrik Lundqvist will make his sixth straight start for the Rangers while Mike Smith starts for the 12th straight game for Phoenix. Smith leads the League with 61 games and 1,687 saves.

"He's been busy. He's a big part of this team," Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette said of Smith. "He's been really good for us lately. He's a big piece. A busy guy, but he's competitive. I'm sure he doesn't mind the job and the workload."

Here are the projected lineups for the Coyotes and Rangers:


Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker

Brandon McMillan - Mike Ribeiro - Shane Doan

Radim Vrbata - Martin Hanzal - Martin Erat

Jeff Halpern - Kyle Chipchura - David Moss

Zbynek Michalek - Oliver Ekman-Larsson

Keith Yandle - Derek Morris

Chris Summers - Michael Stone

Mike Smith

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Paul Bissonnette, Brandon Gormley, Rob Klinkhammer

Injured: David Schlemko (foot)


Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Mats Zuccarello - Derick Brassard - Martin St. Louis

Benoit Pouliot - Brad Richards - Carl Hagelin

Dominic Moore - Brian Boyle - Derek Dorsett

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

Kevin Klein - Raphael Diaz

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Ryan Haggerty, Justin Falk, Daniel Carcillo

Injured: John Moore (concussion)

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