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Christensen taken out of lineup; Brashear plays

Erik Christensen has gone from fourth line to first line to no line. The center claimed off waivers from Anaheim on Dec. 2 "hasn't been dead-on" recently, said coach John Tortorella, who opted to put Donald Brashear in the lineup last night for the first time in six games.

Christensen, who was added when Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky were sidelined, has played 21 games as a Ranger. He had three goals and four assists in a six-game stretch that ended Jan. 9 but had one assist in the last seven after Prospal returned.

Eye on Lecavalier?

Citing two unnamed league sources, the Ottawa Sun reported the Rangers inquired about Vincent Lecavalier, who is due $88 million through the 2019-20 season, including $10 million for each of the next seven years. Lightning GM Brian Lawton has denied the story. Unless the Rangers can move several big salaries, adding the 29-year-old Lightning center, who has 13 goals and 37 assists and played for Tortorella in Tampa, is impossible.

Kotalik to stay put

Ales Kotalik's agent, Larry Kelly, told Newsday that the forward, who was scratched for the sixth straight game last night, has not asked for a trade and that Internet reports alleging that Kotalik, who signed a three-year, $9-million contract last summer, had canceled promotional events were untrue.

Zaba the backup

Matt Zaba, who replaced Henrik Lundqvist at 6:17 of the second period Saturday in Montreal, was the backup last night. Tortorella said Zaba played very well on short notice. Earlier in the month, Tortorella said Lundqvist would be rested at some point in January and that Chad Johnson would get to start.

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