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Rangers looking for another defenseman

NEWARK - With the Rangers playing their worst defensive period of the season in the first last night against the Devils, no wonder coach John Tortorella was pretty adamant Sunday about acquiring a seventh defenseman to spell his current six.

Mathieu Dandenault is one player whose name has surfaced. Dandenault, 33, is an unrestricted free agent who was released by the Sharks. He was part of the Red Wings' Cup teams in 1997, 1998 and 2002 and also played for the Canadiens.

The opening occurred after Alexei Semenov and the club agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract Wednesday. Family issues arose, however, and the 6-6 Semenov, who had been in training camp on a tryout, left the team Friday in Pittsburgh.

Slow start for Anisimov

Artem Anisimov, who is centering the third line, led the team in scoring (4-2-6) in the preseason but is pointless so far. He played only 8:16 against the Devils.

"He's a guy trying to find his way away from the puck, as all young guys are this time of year who are cracking into the National Hockey League," Tortorella said. "He needs to be stronger in certain areas, on the puck, and a lot of that is away from the puck. But he's a promising young guy."

Around the rink

The Rangers were 0-for-9 on the power play before Michael Del Zotto and Ales Kotalik scored in the first period. They also had an assist each . . . Sean Avery skated with the team at the Rock in the morning and could play Thursday in Washington . . . The Rangers lost their previous two games here, 3-0 on Feb. 9 and 8-5 on Dec. 12 . . . Mark Messier, Mike Richter and Red Wings executive Jim Devellano, a former Islanders scout and assistant general manager from 1980-82, are this year's recipients of the Lester Patrick Award for service to U.S. Hockey. Ceremonies are Oct. 21 at Gotham Hall in Manhattan.

New York Sports