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Jesper Fast eager to return to Rangers' lineup

Jesper Fast skates during Rangers training camp at

Jesper Fast skates during Rangers training camp at the MSG Training Center. (Sept. 12, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Swedish rookie Jesper Fast, who made his Rangers debut in the season opener then was a healthy scratch for two games, was back in the lineup Thursday night, and a little wiser.

"You can see how fast defensemen are on you, then sometimes you have more time than you think," said Fast, who watched from the stands as the Rangers edged the Kings, 3-1, and then were pummeled by the Sharks, 9-2. "You learn something about these guys here, how they work around the boards, how they protect the puck."

The 21-year-old right wing, who was on the third line because of Rick Nash's injury, said he would be far less nervous with one NHL game under his belt, although he skated only 13 shifts on a fourth line over 10:13. "Now I can just relax and play," he said, "and being between [Derek] Stepan and [Taylor] Pyatt, it's a good opportunity."

"He didn't play bad the first game," coach Alain Vigneault said. "It was more about the dynamics of the teams we played against," and their size advantage. "He's a smart player."

Blue notes

Defenseman Justin Falk was a scratch for the fourth straight game . . . An NHL spokesman said he was not aware of any plans to move Saturday's 8 p.m. game between the Rangers and Blues earlier because the Cardinals are hosting the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NLCS at nearby Busch Stadium at the same time.

New York Sports