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Lee Stempniak could have a hard time getting back into the lineup

New York Rangers right wing Lee Stempniak skates

New York Rangers right wing Lee Stempniak skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

When the Rangers win, coach Alain Vigneault generally doesn't tweak his lines, and barring an injury or another case of mumps, the forwards who have dressed for three consecutive games could remain in the lineup when the Rangers host the Devils on Saturday.

That could make it difficult for Lee Stempniak, who has missed three games with mumps but practiced Tuesday, to get ice time.

"Right now, there's some chemistry being created within the lines," Vigneault said before Tuesday night's game.

Stempniak, a right wing, has played on the third and fourth lines, but Vigneault currently likes the combinations of Carl Hagelin, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller, and a fourth line of Tanner Glass, Dom Moore and Jesper Fast.

"They made some good plays with the puck," Vigneault said of the bottom trio. "You need that. Dom's been a real effective player for us and they're also killing penalties."

Stempniak, who had a goal and three assists in the eight games prior to contracting mumps, said that during five days of isolation, he had swelling on the left side of his face, but never had a fever and felt achy for just one day.

"I feel real good," Stempniak said after the morning skate. "I wasn't really expecting to play . . . I feel like I'll be ready for the 27th."

But with the three-day holiday hiatus, Stempniak, who has five goals and seven assists, will not be skating again until Saturday before the Devils game, and Vigneault estimated that he would return "sometime after Christmas."

Moore scratched

Defenseman John Moore, who has not played since Dec. 14 in Edmonton, was the other healthy scratch.Moore has two assists in his last 12 games.

New York Sports