J.T. Miller scratched with Rick Nash back in lineup

J.T. Miller looks to pass during the second

J.T. Miller looks to pass during the second period of a game against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 29, 2013) (Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke)

With Rick Nash back, J.T. Miller took a seat.

How long Miller remains out of the lineup is unclear. But it appears he will not be assigned to Hartford during the upcoming road trip, which begins in Dallas on Thursday.

"We're going on the road for five games and we've got one extra forward," coach Alain Vigneault said. "J.T., the last couple of games, has played good, but we just feel that the best lineup [against] the Bruins is the lineup we're dressing."

"He's going to play in the near future, just not tonight."

Miller has a goal and assist in 15 games with a minus-4 rating. He played the season opener in Phoenix, then was assigned to the AHL. He later was recalled and played in eight straight games. He was a healthy scratch against the Ducks on Nov. 4, but returned to the lineup Nov. 6 against Pittsburgh. Miller had a goal Nov. 10 against Florida, but had been dropped to the fourth line.

"What we expect is, that a young player with his upside, to continue to work on his game," Vigneault said.

"Every day and every game, we're evaluating him and where he stands and what's best for the team first and what's best for him."

Pyatt makes progress

Taylor Pyatt, who suffered a concussion on a hit from Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin on Nov. 7, was on the ice for the first time prior to the morning skate.

Pyatt, who has been working out off-ice, saw neurologist Jeffrey Scott Kutcher -- who also evaluated Nash in October -- during the weekend and was cleared to begin skating.

It was undetermined whether the left wing, who missed his fifth game, will fly to Dallas Wednesday or possibly meet the team during the five-game trip.

Pyatt is expected to continue skating and conditioning unless there is a setback, following the same protocol as Nash, before practicing. Pyatt, who played 48 games last season, has one assist in 16 games.

.500 won't cut it

Numbers don't lie. If the Rangers continue on the same path, they will miss the postseason.

"Twenty-five percent of our season has already flown by; Five hundred hockey is not going to get us into the playoffs," Vigneault said.

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