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Lundqvist, Nash and Grabner Out Against Hurricanes

Raanta Starts, Puempel in and Miller Moves Up

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The injury bug bit the Rangers again Thursday as Henrik Lundqvist and Rick Nash will miss tonight's game against the Hurricanes at PNC Arena.

Lundqvist, who made 43 saves Tuesday in a win over the Panthers, is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, while Nash is out with an upper-body injury.

Coach Alain Vigneault said Lundqvist's injury happened Tuesday, while Nash has been "carrying this upper-body injury and it's just too painful [to play] today."

Michael Grabner will miss his fifth game with a hip injury. While he skated Monday in Tampa and again this morning, he's not ready to return to the lineup.

"Grabs tried this morning but is not ready to play," Vigneault said of his leading scorer. "He's still day-to-day in his case."

With Grabner out, Matt Puempel will play after being a healthy scratch the last two games to start this four-game road trip. He'll skate on the right side with Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey.

Vigneault will keep the Derek Stepan line with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello intact, as well as the fourth line with Oscar Lindberg between Brandon Pirri and Tanner Glass, a trio he praised following Tuesday's win in Sunrise.

J.T. Miller, the team's leading scorer with 49 points this season, will slide up into Nash's spot on a line with Mika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich.

"People go down and people have to step into a different spot normally," Miller told after the morning skate. "Just have to play like any other game. I'm going to try and be physical tonight and get in on the forecheck and try and get the puck to those two because they're pretty good with it. It's pretty simple for me. Don't try to do too much."

Miller said he won't change his play style for his new linemates tonight. In fact, that's the opposite of what he wants.

"They're really skilled players but I don't want to play like them," Miller said. "I want to play hard nosed and try to create some separation and get them the puck and hopefully we'll get some chances that way."

Antti Raanta will face Carolina for the first time in his career tonight. He's won his last three starts.

Miller said he and his teammates have full confidence in Raanta being able to turn in a strong performance on last minute notice.

"Whenever Hank has been hurt he's been awesome for us," Miller said of Raanta. "He plays really well and we play hard in front of him. Us as players and him as a goalie, we both feed off that. He's been great for us whenever he's been called on and we expect him to play well tonight, and I'm sure he expects us to put a good performance in front of him."

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