PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie Chris Kreider, who has struggled at the start of the season, was a healthy scratch for the first time in his short career.

The 21-year-old, who scored five playoff goals last season but then had defensive lapses in his first three career regular-season games, took it in stride.

"There's so many good players in this league," he said. "It forces me to do things I'm not used to [defensively] . . . I'm starting to pick it up [the system].

"I don't think the spotlight has anything to do with it. It's just the level of play and the speed. It makes for completely different reads and reaction time."

Asked if returning to the AHL would help his development, he said: "I trust the organization. I trust all the decisions they make."


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Newbury plays

Kris Newbury arrived from Hartford and subbed for Arron Asham (groin strain) on the fourth line. Newbury, who was pointless in seven games last season with the Rangers, was the Whale's top scorer with 15 goals and 21 assists in 40 games. He had 94 penalty minutes.

Asham, who strained his groin against the Penguins on Sunday and didn't play Wednesday, skated and hopes to play Saturday against Toronto at home. "I don't want to get in there early and do even more damage and be out even longer," he said. "I'll skate again [Friday] and have my mind set on playing Saturday."


Blue notes

Matt Gilroy was scratched for the fourth straight game . . . The Rangers acquired Benn Ferriero, Brian Boyle's teammate at Boston College, from Pittsburgh for Chad Kolarik, who had 35 points for the Whale and was named an All-Star. Ferriero was 14-8-22 in 92 games with the Sharks.