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Lias Andersson still growing into being consistent for Rangers

Rangers center Lias Andersson shoots the puck against

Rangers center Lias Andersson shoots the puck against the Devils during the first period of a preseason game at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 24. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Since rugged veteran winger Matt Beleskey got sent down to AHL Hartford Sunday night, the Rangers are not currently carrying an extra forward, which means that Lias Andersson, who was scratched for Friday’s OT loss against Winnipeg, was in the lineup and will remain there until something changes.

“This is all part of his growing process, and developing,’’ coach David Quinn said of Andersson, the team’s first of two first-round draft picks in 2017 (No. 7 overall). “I thought he did some good things the other night (Sunday against Vegas).’’

Andersson, 20, failed to make the team out of training camp, but played well in Hartford and got called up in early November. He played left wing on the fourth line Tuesday, with Boo Nieves at center and Ryan Strome on the right. Meanwhile, Filip Chytil, who was the Rangers’ other first-round pick in 2017 (No. 21 overall) played on the first line against the Ducks.

“He’s done some good things in every game he’s played,’’ Quinn said of Andersson. “But at this level, it’s not about doing some good things some of the time, it’s about doing good things all the time. And that’s every young player’s challenge, is to be consistent. And he’s no different.’’

Brendan Smith returns

D Brendan Smith was back in the lineup after missing three of the previous four games. Fredrik Claesson was scratched.

“He’s a good player,’’ Quinn said of Smith. “He’s had some good stretches, so far, this year. And I thought he’s had a couple good practices. Like I said, we feel like we’ve got seven 'D' that can play, and he’s certainly one of them. ‘’

Junior achievements

All three of the Rangers’ first-round picks this summer – Vitaly Kravtsov (Russia), K’Andre Miller (USA) and Nils Lundkvist (Sweden) – are on their respective country’s teams for the World Junior Championships in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia this month. Russia and Sweden faced each other in a preliminary game Tuesday and the U.S. will play Russia Thursday in its first preliminary game. Two other 2018 Ranger draft picks, third rounder Joey Keane (USA) and fourth rounder Nico Gross (Switzerland) are playing in the tournament.

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