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Martin St. Louis ready for Rangers debut at center

Martin St. Louis reacts against the Pittsburgh Penguins

Martin St. Louis reacts against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, May 11, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Prepping for his Rangers debut at center, Martin St. Louis practiced faceoffs at Madison Square Garden on Friday morning before the team's fifth preseason game against the Blackhawks.

St. Louis, a right wing for his entire career who had played some center with Tampa, likely will be flanked by Rick Nash and Anthony Duclair.

The other centers dressing for the Rangers (2-2) are Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes. The forwards are Chris Kreider, Ryan Malone, Mats Zuccarello, Jesper Fast, Lee Stempniak and Tanner Glass. The defensemen will be Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Michael Kostka and Matt Hunwick.

Some other notes from the skate:

Center Matt Lombardi, recovering from a groin injury, practiced with both the game group and later with the healthy scratches. Head coach Alain Vigneault said "hopefully, he'll play Saturday" in New Jersey in the final preseason game.

Avoiding injuries this deep in the preseason is critical. The latest news came from Toronto, where Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak are out Friday with lower-body injuries ... Hayes, the Boston College forward who was drafted by Chicago but declined to sign a contract and became a free agent, acknowledged playing against the Blackhawks "will be a little awkward" ... Former Ranger Brad Richards is not making the trip to New York with the Hawks (2-3). He and his wife are expecting a baby ... Girardi assumed the "Captain Morgan" pose (hand on hip, leg up) after scoring twice in a matter of seconds during the morning skate. "Did you see that shift? Don't see that often..." he said in the dressing room later ... And note this tweet from Chicago reporter Chris Kuc: "Turns out it was (Michal) Rozsival who hit Kostka with a shot last year and broke his foot. 'If he's playing tonight, maybe I'll go whack him.'"

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