Matt Rempe of the Rangers and Kurtis MacDermid of the Devils...

Matt Rempe of the Rangers and Kurtis MacDermid of the Devils are separated late during the second period at Madison Square Garden on March 11. Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH – Sitting at his stall, Matt Rempe made a vow to the small semicircle of reporters camped out in front of him.

The Rangers’ 21-year-old rookie is going to continue to “be a little bit of a menace” on the ice while attempting to play clean, hard hockey.

“I just want to make sure I’m not taking dumb penalties because I think that hurts the team, that hurts myself,” Rempe said after practice at the MSG Training Center Wednesday. “Being clean and playing hard and I think that’s what I’ve been doing.”

It appears Rempe will get his first chance to put what he learned during his four-game suspension for elbowing New Jersey defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler on March 11 to use Thursday night in Boston against the NHL-best Bruins.

Rempe skated on the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey for the entirety of the half-hour practice, while coach Peter Laviolette reunited the top two lines after in-game reconfigurations during Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Central Division-leading Jets.

During the third period, Laviolette dropped Chris Kreider to the third line with Alex Wennberg and Will Cuylle, and moved Mika Zibanejad to the second line with Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere. Vincent Trocheck replaced Zibanejad as the top-line pivot.

Afterward, Laviolette explained the decision to make changes was due to the Rangers being “a little bit flat,” an assessment Wennberg essentially agreed with.

“The second period [we] really didn’t stick to our game,” said Wennberg.

But any thought that Laviolette would consider wholesale changes to the forward groupings were quashed as soon as practice began. Zibanejad was in his usual spot between Kreider and Jack Roslovic on the top line, followed by the Panarin, Trocheck and Lafreniere trio. Wennberg centered the third line with Cuylle and Kaapo Kakko.

In fact, the only change was Rempe replacing Jonny Brodzinski on the fourth line. Brodzinski skated with Brandon Scanlin as essentially a fourth defensive pairing during practice, making it likely that both will be healthy scratches against the Bruins.

While Laviolette would not tip his hand about the lineup he will dress in Boston, he was unequivocal about what he wants and needs to see from Rempe.

“He likes to hit,” Laviolette said. “He’s a good hitter so he’s got to make sure that he’s doing things the right way. [The hit on Siegenthaler] got away; every other hit has been pretty good. They’ve been heavy and physical and he brings that presence to the team . . .

"He’s also been a good hockey player for us as well. So when he does come back into the lineup we’ll look for those same moments.”

Rangers sign college prospect

The Rangers announced that they have signed Providence College prospect Jaroslav Chmelar to a three-year, entry-level contract. According to capfriendly.com, the annual average value of the deal is $925,000 per year. The 20-year-old forward from Czechia had 12 goals and 16 assists in 59 games over two seasons with Providence. He was selected in the fifth round by the Rangers in the 2021 draft.

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