Raphael Diaz fills in for John Moore, out with concussion symptoms

Rangers defenseman John Moore celebrates his goal with Rangers defenseman John Moore celebrates his goal with defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the second period against the Washington Capitals. (Oct. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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NEWARK, N.J. - The Rangers' defense is a little thinner with John Moore sidelined by concussion symptoms, but for one night at least, Raphael Diaz filled the hole.

In his Rangers debut, Diaz, 28 -- acquired from Vancouver at the trade deadline for a fifth-round draft pick -- played 16:20 with one shot on goal and two blocked shots, was a plus-1 and added a new twist to the power play in 4:06.

Diaz, who like third-pair partner Kevin Klein, is righthanded, said Klein told him to stick to the right side to feel more comfortable and that he would switch.

"Give [Klein] a lot of credit," coach Alain Vigneault said. "I liked what they did and I liked what we saw on the power play. Having three righthanded shots gave us a different look. We had some pretty good opportunities in the third period."

The power play went 1-for-3 -- Derek Stepan's empty-net goal with 7.8 seconds left -- but has only three goals in the last nine games, so Diaz, who has five goals and 38 assists in 135 NHL games, likely will have another opportunity Monday night against the Coyotes at home. He is the 10th player to make his Rangers debut this season.

Moore, who had played in 69 games and recently was on the point of the second unit of the power play, was injured on a hit by former Islander Blake Comeau in the first period in Columbus on Friday. He played one shift in the second period but was kept off the ice in the third. "He'll be evaluated on a day-to-day basis," Vigneault said.

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Blue notes

Henrik Lundqvist was credited with his fourth assist on Stepan's empty-netter. Chris Kreider, on Rick Nash's goal, and Ryan McDonagh, on Stepan's, also had assists . . . Fourth-liner Derek Dorsett was out with stomach flu and was replaced by Dan Carcillo . . . Ryan Haggerty and Justin Falk took warm-ups for two players with minor ailments -- whom Vigneault did not name -- then were healthy scratches.

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