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Rangers get back to smaller ice, bigger goals

Rick Nash controls the puck against the St.

Rick Nash controls the puck against the St. Louis Blues in the second period at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

GREENBURGH, N.Y. - It's all about perspective and adjustments.

After returning from Sochi, Rick Nash said the ice at practice "felt really small." Henrik Lundqvist noticed that the blue lines were closer after facing shots on the bigger surface in Russia.

J.T. Miller, installed on the third line to face Chicago Thursday night in place of the injured Mats Zuccarello after being summoned from Hartford, wanted to fit in with Derick Brassard and Benoit Pouliot.

But while preparing for the first post-Olympics game at Madison Square Garden, coach Alain Vigneault couldn't help but look past Wednesday's trade deadline, an unwanted topic of discussion since minicamp opened last week.

"After the next three games [against the Blackhawks, Flyers and Bruins], when we play Toronto next week, we're going to play with the team we're going to finish [the season] with," said Vigneault, whose roster could change if captain Ryan Callahan and defenseman Dan Girardi were traded.

Settling in for a playoff push with some stability will be welcome. In his first season with the Rangers, Vigneault said, "having Hank, [Callahan] and Dan going into their final [contract] year has been a little bit challenging. When the coaches aren't around . . . those are the guys who are setting the tone."

The door hasn't been totally closed on Callahan's future with the organization with whom he has spent his entire career. The sides remain stalled on a long-term pact but are expected to talk before Wednesday. The Rangers are believed to have offered a five-year deal at about $6 million. Callahan is believed to be seeking a seven-year contract at about $6.5 million per season.

"I'm not going to talk about that stuff- -- contract talks, trade rumors -- in the media," Callahan said Wednesday.

Notes & quotes: Derek Dorsett, recovering from a broken left leg suffered Jan. 3, is ready to play but will get Thursday off, Vigneault said . . . Cam Talbot will start against Chicago. Lundqvist will start Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia.

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