Desperate Rangers make changes for tonight’s game against ‘elite’ Stars

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No shortage of storylines for the reeling New York Rangers when they host the Dallas Stars tonight.

Let’s start with Jayson Megna, the 25-year-old forward who was called up yesterday from the AHL. Megna will make his Rangers debut. The undrafted Florida native has 48 games of NHL experience with Pittsburgh.

“We’ve had some really good reports from our guys in Hartford on how he’s been playing,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said this morning. “Very consistent at both ends of the ice. Very competitive.”

Megna has seven goals and 11 assists in 34 games for the offensively challenged Wolf Pack.

Then there’s forward Kevin Hayes, set to return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games.

“We need him to play well for us,” said Vigneault. “Kevin has all the possibilities. He’s got great tools, we all know it. He’s got to find a way to put it all together.”

The Rangers will be without winger Chris Kreider against the high-flying Stars, due to a cut on his hand. He’s considered day-to-day. Emerson Etem is expected to be a healthy scratch.

As for tonight’s opponents, Vigneault knows it won’t be easy.

“We know we’re playing against an elite team, one of the best teams in the NHL,” he said. “So you’ve got to bring your best game tonight. You’ve got to get the timely saves, you’ve got to get the timely goals, and work your butt off. That’s what we’re going to try and do.”

The Rangers are 5-11-2 since starting the season 16-3-2, and their playoff cushion has fallen to just two points.