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Rangers lose to Habs in Wolski's debut

New York Rangers left wing Wojtek Wolski (86)

New York Rangers left wing Wojtek Wolski (86) takes a shot on goal during the first period against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. (Jan. 11, 201!) Photo Credit: Newsday / Christopher Pasatieri

Wojtek Wolski was a little more prepared for a trade this time.

"I expected it a little more," the Rangers' newest forward said after he arrived in New York Tuesday after being traded by the Coyotes for veteran defenseman Michal Rozsival on Monday. "Maybe I was more welcome to the fact of getting moved. It was definitely tough not getting the minutes I wanted and not being able to contribute."

Last night, the 24-year-old Wolski, who envisions himself reclaiming an offensive role that provided him the opportunity to score 22 goals in 2006-07 and 23 goals last season between Colorado and Phoenix, began the next step in his career as the Rangers hosted the Montreal Canadiens.

The left wing was immediately inserted on the No. 1 line with Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov, and Wolski had some chances early with that duo. He hit the post with about 2:50 left in regulation, but the Rangers lost, 2-1.

"I thought it did go in," said Wolski, who played 19:39, "and if it didn't, we would get the rebound, but it kind of went into a position where we just couldn't react to it."

Benoit Pouliot broke a 1-1 tie with a sharp-angled wrister over Henrik Lundqvist's right shoulder at 6:03 of the third period. It was the second consecutive goal for Montreal. At 18:49 of the second, Jaroslav Spacek's shot was initially stopped by Lundqvist, but both Brian Boyle and Pouliot dove into the crease and the puck was pushed across the line.

"He took a really good shot but I should have it," Lundqvist said. "I felt like it wasn't our night tonight."

Brandon Dubinsky opened the scoring with his 17th goal at 4:15 of the first period on a drive to the net and a wrister past Alex Auld. Lundqvist recorded an assist in his third consecutive game.

As demonstrated again last night, the Blueshirts need more scoring. "We certainly will not get in [Wolski's] way offensively," coach John Tortorella said. "We want to see his skill. A big part of our club, when we win some hockey games, is our grind; he is going to have to join in there, also."

In 2005-06, Wolski lit up the OHL with 47 goals and 128 points in 57 games, and was drafted 21st overall by Colorado. "I like to create plays, create opportunities for myself and my linemates," Wolski said. But the word was that he didn't embrace Phoenix coach Dave Tippett's defensive system, and that will be the challenge for him here.

Wolski, who was born in Poland, was traded last season a few days before the deadline, "and I wasn't expecting it," he said. "We were on the road in Anaheim and played Colorado the next day. So I'm happy we're not playing Phoenix. Maybe it's better if I just jump in."

After scoring 18 points in 18 games when he arrived in Phoenix, Wolski was off to anything but a jump start this season, with just six goals and 16 points. "I knew there were going to be some changes, either myself or someone else to shake things up," he said.

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