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With Prospal out, Dubinsky gets a start at wing

RALEIGH, N.C. - Brandon Dubinsky on the wing?

With the Rangers thin at center without Vinny Prospal, who is out at least two weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery, coach John Tortorella experimented last night by starting Erik Christensen at center for Marian Gaborik on the right and Dubinsky on the left.

Dubinsky was a minus-4 Wednesday in the 6-0 loss to the Flyers and considered it his worst game as a Ranger. Christensen had no points in seven games since being claimed off waivers from Anaheim on Dec. 2. But Christensen had a goal and an assist, Dubinsky scored the game-winner and Gaborik had two assists last night.

For the first time in 14 games, left wing Aaron Voros was in the lineup. Voros has played only 19 games, with one assist and 32 penalty minutes.

Johnson to play more

Rookie goalie Chad Johnson, who made 17 saves on 20 shots in the last two periods against Philadelphia in his NHL debut Wednesday after replacing Henrik Lundqvist, is expected to make three starts in January to spell Lundqvist, who started for the 14th straight game last night.

Tortorella has a plan that he would not divulge. Speculation centers on Johnson starting Jan. 7 against Atlanta, Jan. 16 against St. Louis and in one game on the three-city road trip to Phoenix, Colorado and Los Angeles to close the month.

New Year's record

The last Rangers win on New Year's Eve had been in 2002, but they had played only one New Year's Eve game since then. Rangers goal-scorers in that game: Joel Bouchard and Bobby Holik here in Carolina. The last 11 Rangers games on New Year's Eve have been on the road. The last New Year's Eve home game? In 1989 against the Penguins.

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