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New York Rangers News: Miller in the Top Six, Klein to Skate Next Week, Hank's Family is Growing

Kevin Hayes will be returning to the third line which means that Miller will be getting a look in the top six.

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

After falling to the Blackhawks 1-0 on the 18th at the Garden, the Rangers look like they're going to shake up their lines and give J.T. Miller a crack at filling the vacancy in the top six that was created by the lower body injury to Martin St. Louis. This means that we'll see Kevin Hayes likely return to centering the Rangers' third line with the Blueshirts' two Swedish forwards as his wingers; Carl Hagelin and Jesper Fast.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>NYR prax lines: 20-21-61; 36-16-10; 62-13-19; 15-28-45. Thinking Talbot will start vs Canes. More to come</p>&mdash; Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) <a href="https://twitter.com/stevezipay/status/578944726331731968">March 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Obviously, a lot can change between today's practice lines and the lines that we see tomorrow in Carolina against the Hurricanes, but it looks like the coaching staff wants to see Hayes back up against weaker competition and give Miller a chance to play with Derick Brassard and Zuccarello in an attempt to give the Rangers three lines that can provide offense and a more balanced attack.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>AV: Hayes move back to center gives us three lines to provide offense</p>&mdash; Steve Zipay (@stevezipay) <a href="https://twitter.com/stevezipay/status/578956503719272448">March 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Here are the four most common line combinations from Wednesday's loss to Chicago:

Nash, Stepan, Kreider. 29.47%

Hayes, Brassard, Zuccarello. 21.26%

Glass, Moore, Fast. 21.26%

Hagelin, Sheppard, Miller. 16.43%

We should expect to see a big bump in ice time for J.T. Miller tomorrow (if he can prove to the coaching staff that he belongs there) and, hopefully, a more impactful Kevin Hayes returning to his familiar role as the club's third line center. Having Marty St. Louis on the shelf for another week and a half or so has caused the Rangers to have to juggle the lines that have been finding a way to get it done and start the month of March off with a 6-1-1 record. If Miller wears out the exceedingly short leash that he has with the coaching staff early tomorrow against the Canes, it will be interesting to see what lines the Rangers roll against a team that they simply have to pick up two points against. There's been no word of the defensive pairings being changed from what we saw on the 18th against Chicago.

In other Rangers news, Kevin Klein expects to return to the ice next week for the first time since a snap shot by Alex Ovechkin broke his arm. Steve Zipay shared on twitter that Klein believes he is about two weeks away from returning but is currently taking things "day to day".

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Kevin Klein (broken left arm) said he knew right away something was wrong, couldn&#39;t grip stick. Hopes to resume skating next week.</p>&mdash; Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) <a href="https://twitter.com/AGrossRecord/status/578956967659630592">March 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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And our last little bit of Rangers news on the day is some off-the-ice awesomeness for the face of the franchise, Henrik Lundqvist:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NYR?src=hash">#NYR</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/HLundqvist30">@HLundqvist30</a> will not be at practice today as he and his wife are expecting their 2nd child today!</p>&mdash; New York Rangers (@NYRangers) <a href="https://twitter.com/NYRangers/status/578921756095823873">March 20, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Congratulations to Henrik and his wife on the expected birth of their second child!

So what does Hank missing today practice mean for his return to the net and for the Rangers? From NHL.com:

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he will not change the team's practice schedule to accommodate Lundqvist. Lundqvist will not travel with the team for its game Saturday at the Carolina Hurricanes. It's likely he'll practice next Tuesday and Wednesday.

It appears that trying to peg down Hank's first start since returning from his vascular injury will be a bit of a guessing game, especially since he is not traveling with the team to Carolina or practicing today. The Rangers next two games occur in two nights and will require the team to travel from Carolina to New York to host the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 on Sunday. Whether or not we'll see Hank start against the Ducks on Sunday or return to the crease on Tuesday against the Kings remains to be seen.

As per Zipay's previously quoted tweet, Cam Talbot will be in the pipes tomorrow against the Hurricanes. It will be Talbot's 12th start in 13 games. The 1-0 loss against the Blackhawks on Wednesday was his (and the club's) first regulation loss since falling 4-2 to the Flyers on February 28th. There are no words for how brilliant Cam Talbot has been in Henrik Lundqvist's absence. In my book he's been the most important player to the team this season after Rick Nash.

Let's go Rangers.