Kreider earns promotion, Asham scores

March, 25, 2013
3/25/13
1:57
AM ET
Beyond moving back into a playoff spot, there were a few additional bright spots of the team's 3-2 shootout loss to the Capitals.

One was the play of recently-recalled Chris Kreider. The 21-year-old winger, summoned back from the minors last week, earned himself a promotion to the first line playing with Brad Richards and Rick Nash. Meanwhile, Marian Gaborik was tasked with third-line duty.

[+] EnlargeChris Kreider
Paul Bereswill/Getty ImagesChris Kreider battles for the puck in the first period of the Rangers' shootout loss to the Caps.
"He was skating well and was on the puck," coach John Tortorella said. "I wanted to try and get Gabby a different look with another line against a different defense pair, but Chris was doing the things we were asking him to."

It's been a tough season for last spring's out-of-nowhere playoff phenom. Struggling to seal his spot in the lineup, Kreider was sent down to the AHL last month for more seasoning

Now he's skating on a line with Richards and Nash. Though Tortorella didn't commit to using the trio together going forward, he seemed at least intrigued by the dynamic.

"That line, I think, needs somebody to chase down pucks," he said.

• • •


Fourth-line forward Arron Asham had a successful return after missing 15 games with a back injury. The rugged winger even flashed his scoring touch with a nice goal to convert a 2-on-1 rush in the first.

"The first period I was going on adrenaline and I didn't feel too bad in the second and third," Asham said. "I still have a ways to go but I didn't feel too bad."

The whole fourth line -- Asham, Darroll Powe, and Kris Newbury -- earned praise from Tortorella for providing a much-needed spark when the team was trailing 2-0.

"They changed the complexion when we were down and scored a goal," Tortorella said. "They changed the momentum plus scored a goal and drew a penalty, so it was good stuff for us."

• • •


Defenseman Ryan McDonagh appeared to suffer no ill effects from a collision with Alex Ovechkin in the second period. Though he was not on the ice for the Rangers 5-on-3 penalty kill, it was a skate issue not injury that prevented him from playing with the unit.
Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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