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Kreider earns promotion, Asham scores

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.

"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.

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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."

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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.