Conor Allen gets almost 16 minutes ice time in Rangers debut

The Tampa Bay Lightning's Nate Thompson (44) checks The Tampa Bay Lightning's Nate Thompson (44) checks Conor Allen (37) into the boards during the second period. (Dec. 29, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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TAMPA, Fla. - It was an impressive NHL debut for Conor Allen.

Allen, 23, summoned from Hartford because Anton Stralman's bruised hand forced him to sit out Sunday night, played 15 minutes, 47 seconds, including key minutes late in the game when the Rangers were hanging on to a 4-3 lead.

"He was one of our better Ds," coach Alain Vigneault said. "He outplayed some of the other guys and deserved to be out there. He was poised with the puck, wasn't afraid to take a hit to make a play, and that's why he got that ice time."

Allen, a 6-3 Chicagoan whose dad flew here to see the game (while his mom stayed home for the Bears-Packers game), said he "was pretty nervous in warm-ups, but after probably my second shift, [Rick] Nash came over and gave me a pat on the butt and said, 'Good job, keep playing confident.' I stopped thinking about my nerves."

He became the fourth player to make his NHL debut with the Rangers this season, joining Jesper Fast, Cam Talbot and Dylan McIlrath.

Allen, who played at UMass and signed as a free agent, had seven points in his last seven AHL games.

Stralman could be back Tuesday. Marc Staal, out since Dec. 7 with a concussion, practiced Sunday and did not rule out playing Tuesday.

 

Blue streaks

Benoit Pouliot, who scored the Rangers' fourth goal, extended his career-high point streak to seven games (four goals, three assists), the longest for the team this season . . . Ryan McDonagh and Derick Brassard each had two assists . . . Mats Zuccarello established a career high with three power-play points and tied his career high for most points in a game . . . Taylor Pyatt (healthy) and captain Ryan Callahan (MCL) were scratched. Callahan, who practiced, is projected to be out until at least Jan. 7.

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