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Brandon Mashinter gets his chance with Rangers Live


Brandon Mashinter fights the Buffalo Sabres' Cody McCormick during the first period of a game at Madison Square Garden. (Oct. 31, 2013) 
by Casey Musarra



BY STEVE ZIPAY

With Taylor Pyatt out with a concussion sustained against Columbus, Brandon Mashinter stepped in on the fourth line for his fifth game of the season, and his focus was on defense.

“I want to play the best I can defensively on my shifts, then maybe try to contribute offensively off that,” said Mashinter, who was acquired from the Sharks in January. “I had two shots last game [against Anaheim]. It’s always hard getting that first goal.

The 6-4 left wing, who had 16 goals with the AHL Worcester Sharks in 2011-12 and 12 goals with Worcester and Connecticut last season, had five assists in six games in Hartford when he was recalled on Oct. 20. He’s averaging just under five minutes a game and has had two fights.

“Mash is a depth player that brings a physical element,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “I’ve seen improvement. What I see is a young man that works real hard and brings a physical dimension to our team that we need.

Penalty kill excelling

In the previous nine games, the penalty kill has been superb, denying 27 of 31 opportunities for an 87-percent rate. Mats Zuccarello has been a recent addition. “He’s a player I tried four or five games ago,” Vigneault said, “and he’s worked out very well for us.

The aim is to pair forwards “who are comfortable with each other and can read off one another,” Vigneault said. “It seems all of the guys who’ve been out of our lineup, except for [Rick] Nash, have been guys I can use to kill penalties, so it makes it a little bit more challenging.

Nash, Moore: No practice

Nash (concussion), who missed his 14th game, and Dominic Moore (strained oblique), who missed his sixth, did not practice, but were on the ice shooting at backup Cam Talbot and doing drills with assistant coach Daniel Lacroix. Nash is out indefinitely; Moore might play in Montreal on Saturday.

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