"Chad Kolarik," Porter said. "He knows me best, and a lot of people think we are really similar."
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If Kolarik, whose Rangers debut in a 4-1 loss at Carolina on Thursday included four shots and an assist in 8:48, can come close to his friend's accomplishments, the organization will be pleased.
Coach John Tortorella's brief glimpse of the 24-year-old will produce another look when the Rangers face the Thrashers in Atlanta on Saturday night on the second leg of this three-game trip. "I like Kolarik," Tortorella said. "He's going to get an opportunity. [Kris] Newbury and Kolarik are staying in the lineup."
Kolarik, a 5-11, 195-pound right wing who skated with Newbury and left wing Dale Weise, was glad to get his first NHL point in three games. "But the excitement is gone because you lose," said Kolarik, who dressed twice for the Blue Jackets last season. "You have to win and get those points. Then it would feel that much better."
The native of Abington, Pa., acquired from Columbus for Dane Byers on Nov. 11, scored 17 goals and had 33 points in 39 games with the AHL Springfield Falcons and Connecticut Whale this season. He was called up when Brandon Dubinsky was sidelined Wednesday because of a stress fracture in his left fibula.
Porter - who has nine goals and five assists for the Avalanche this season - and Kolarik originally were drafted by the Coyotes in 2004 before both attended the University of Michigan. After completing his senior year with the Wolverines in the 2007-08 season, Kolarik signed a three-year entry- level contract with Phoenix before he was traded to Columbus. He made his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets on April 5, 2010.
"Chad's a very smart player," Porter told Newsday earlier this season. "I hope he gets a shot in New York."
Notes & quotes: Saturday night's game is the second of four with Atlanta this season; the Thrashers won, 6-4, at the Garden on Oct. 27. Nine Rangers in that lineup have since been injured, traded or sent to the AHL . . . Rangers forward Brodie Dupont could make his NHL debut . . . The Thrashers have lost five of six games; the Rangers have dropped four of six . . . The Rangers' power play could be a factor: Atlanta's penalty-kill is ranked 29th and is only 14-for-29 in its past eight.