Rangers Notebook: Tortorella switches up lines again

John Tortorella
John Tortorella is switching up the lines again.

The season-long chemistry experiment for the Rangers continues.

Head coach John Tortorella reshuffled the forward lines and defense pairings prior to Monday night’s Garden matchup against the Jets in an attempt to create units that can find the solution to the Rangers season-long offensive outage.

The Rangers have scored a league-low 75 goals.

“I get asked [about the lack of offensive production] every day,” Tortorella said. “I don’t have an answer for you. We’ll continue to try.”

Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Rick Nash comprised the first line. The second line was made up of recently signed Mats Zuccarello, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.

Brian Boyle, who Tortorella said would alternate between the wing and center, was on the third line with J.T. Miller and Carl Hagelin. Darroll Powe centered Chris Kreider and Taylor Pyatt.

“He’s done it before,” Tortorella said of Boyle switching between the wing and center. “His past couple games — past two out of three games — he’s played pretty well.”

On the back end, he opened with Anton Stralman and Ryan McDonagh. Dan Girardi and Michael Del Zotto made up the second pair, while Steve Eminger and Roman Hamrlik with the third unit.

Forward Arron Asham and defenseman Matt Gilroy were scratched.

“No,” Tortorella said when asked if Asham had either reinjured himself or played himself out of the lineup. Tortorella did expound on his answer.

Lee signed by Isles

Prior to last night’s game at the Devils, the Islanders announced prospect forward Andres Lee signed a two-year entry-level contract. Lee, a forward from Notre Dame will play with the Islanders instead of being assigned to AHL Bridgeport.

“He’s going to play,” head coach Jack Capuano told reporters at the early skate. Lee recorded 116 points in three seasons with Notre Dame. “He’s going to get his opportunity here shortly.”

The Islanders also announced prospect center Ryan Strome was assigned to AHL Bridgeport, and defenseman Joe Finley was placed on the injured reserve retroactive to March 22 with an undisclosed injury.

Strome, the fifth pick in the 2011 draft, led the Ontario Hockey League’s Niagara IceDogs with 94 points in 53 regular season games. He recorded three points in Niagara’s five game, first round series loss to the Oshawa Generals in the OHL Playoffs.

Deadline day approaches

Twenty-eight of the league’s 30 teams are alive for a playoff berth. The trade deadline is Wednesday.

With time dwindling to bolster teams in the final days of the regular season, three minor deals were announced yesterday. Chicago acquired center Michal Handzus from San Jose in exchange for a fourth-round pick. Philadelphia traded Harry Zolnierczyk to Anaheim for Jay Rosehill. The Kings landed defenseman Robyn Regehr from Buffalo Sabres in exchange for two second-round picks.

Those deals may be the precursor to a major one involving the Flames and Maple Leafs. According to multiple reports, the Flames and Leafs are talking about a deal that would send to Toronto.

Other names believed to be on the trade market are Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and Sharks forward Ryane Clowe.

Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.


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