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Christensen traded to Wild for Wellman

The Sports Xchange

The Rangers traded center Erik Christensen to the Minnesota Wild on Friday, getting forward Casey Wellman in return.

Christensen had seen limited ice time this season for the Rangers, playing in just four of their last 34 games.

He had one goal and four assists in 20 games, averaging just over eight minutes per game as a fourth-liner and part-timer on the power play.

"Erik is a great guy who had some opportunities here and now gets an opportunity somewhere else," Rangers coach John Tortorella told the New York Post. "I wish nothing but the best for him."

Wellman, 24, was sent to the Whale of the AHL as the Rangers are expecting to call up defenseman Steve Eminger for Sunday's key game vs. the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I don't know anything about Wellman but (assistant GM Jim Schoenfeld) said that he's a hard working guy who has some skill," Tortorella said, according to the paper.

Eminger has been out since mid-December, 19 games in all, since suffering a separated shoulder.

Trainer Jim Ramsay has reportedly given the OK for Eminger's return, and the defenseman himself said he was "very close" according to the Post story.

--Brad Richards can't understand why he's struggled so dramatically in shootouts this season, but Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers survived the tiebreaker without the help of their star center in a 1-0 shootout victory Wednesday in Buffalo.

Richards had converted more than 40 percent of a large sample size (25 for 60) before joining the Blueshirts as a free agent last summer, but he has failed to score on any of his seven attempts this season after being denied Wednesday by Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

"(Coach John Tortorella) knows what I've done on the shootout in the past," Richards said. "When he calls my name, I'm trying to help, but I realize I've got to score there eventually.

"I've been pretty effective before this, so I don't really know what the problem has been. It's not my decision whether I continue to go or not; that's up to Torts, but I'm certainly not going to ask out or say no. I've just got to figure it out."

The East-leading Rangers had dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to New Jersey the previous night with backup goalie Martin Biron in net, but Lundqvist stopped three of four penalty-shot attempts Wednesday -- after denying all 34 Buffalo shots through overtime -- to lift the Blueshirts to a 32-12-5 record entering their Super Bowl Sunday matinee against Philadelphia. Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan netted the shootout goals Wednesday against Buffalo.

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