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Rangers hope solid play at home carries over to road trip

Keith Yandle #93 of the New York Rangers

Keith Yandle #93 of the New York Rangers celebrates his first period goal against the Dallas Stars with teammate Jesper Fast #19 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

After a 2-0-1 homestand, the Rangers have to adjust their sights to the road.

There’s no major travel involved, with games in Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Washington on tap through Sunday — one of the blessings of playing in the Metropolitan Division.

But so far this season, enemy arenas have been frightful: The Blueshirts are 7-9-3 away from home.

Center Derick Brassard, who along with Keith Yandle has a three-game point streak, senses a turning of the tide.

“We are working a lot harder in practices and games,” Brassard said after Monday’s 2-1 win over the Bruins. “You can see it in our play. In the third period, some of the guys stepped up and the whole team was working hard. We’re going on the road to face some division teams and there’s going to be some good games. We need to keep this rolling.”

The Rangers were off Tuesday, and return to practice Wednesday. There could be a couple lineup changes against the Islanders in the first leg of the trip Thursday or later.

If defenseman Dan Girardi, who was forced out of Monday’s game when his thumb was cut by a shot early in the second period, isn’t ready, Dylan McIlrath presumably would return on the third pair with Yandle after being a healthy scratch for six games. McIlrath played 15:21 in the 2-1 shootout loss to the Islanders on Dec. 2.

Oscar Lindberg, who was a healthy scratch against the Bruins despite a goal and assist in the previous two games, might take the place of recent call-up Jayson Megna, who was dropped out of the top six in favor of Jesper Fast during coach Alain Vigneault’s third-period line shuffling. After a two-point debut against Dallas, Megna has only three shots on goal in the last two games.

Henrik Lundqvist likely will make his 10th consecutive start on Thursday at Barclays Center. But with three games in four days, backup Antti Raanta could play on Saturday against the Flyers. Raanta mopped up in the 5-3 loss to Nashville on Dec. 28 but hasn’t started since Dec. 17 in Minnesota, when he was knocked out of the game by Marco Scandella’s shot that struck him in the mask.

New York Sports