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Rangers make roster tweaks in search for better results

Cristoval Nieves of the Rangers skates after a loose puck

Cristoval Nieves of the Rangers skates after a loose puck while being defended by Alexandre Burrows of the Canucks on Nov. 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Credit: Getty Images / Rich Lam

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — After a very disappointing performance in the first 10 games of the season, Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton and coach Alain Vigneault on Tuesday took small steps in hopes of starting to right the ship.

And more moves are expected, especially if the tailspin continues.

Defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, acquired in the summer trade that sent center Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta to Arizona, was shipped to the AHL, and forward Adam Cracknell, 32, claimed off waivers from Dallas on Oct. 9 and pointless in five games, was waived.

The moves created space on the roster and under the salary cap. Center Cristoval Nieves was summoned from Hartford of the AHL and is likely to play on the fourth line and kill penalties. Nieves is 2-1-3 in seven games for the Wolf Pack.

DeAngelo, who turned 22 on Tuesday, had one assist and was a minus-4 in eight games, averaging 12:38 on ice per game, including on the second power-play unit.

If Cracknell clears and is re-assigned or claimed Wednesday, the Rangers would have 12 healthy forwards, seven defensemen and two goalies on the NHL roster, with cap space of more than $3 million, which leaves plenty of room for Nieves ($775,000).

Against the Coyotes, backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec will make his second start, Vig neault said. Henrik Lundqvist took Tuesday’s practice off because he woke with some discomfort in his left leg, which was twisted when Joonas Donskoi tripped over the netminder’s pad after scoring late in the second period in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Sharks. But Lundqvist is expected to practice Wednesday, Vigneault said.

Pavelec made 21 saves on 24 shots in relief in an 8-5 loss in Toronto on Oct. 7. He stopped 16 of 19 against the Devils in his only start, a 3-2 loss on Oct. 14.

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