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Lisin happy to be a Blueshirt // The Record Bergen County, N.J
His current team is struggling and his former team has been one of the bigger surprises in the Western Conference. But Enver Lisin has no regrets with the off-season trade that sent him from the Coyotes to the Rangers.
"I think I've got more confidence now and I understand the game more," the 23-year-old Russian said. "It's basically my first full season. Last year was up and down. I'm very happy about this trade. I've got a great team, great guys."
The Rangers carry a season-high four-game losing streak as they open a three-game Western swing tonight at Phoenix. The Coyotes, who finished 13th in the West last season and have not made the playoffs since 2002, were fourth in the conference heading into Friday's games.
The Avalanche and the Kings, the other two teams the Rangers will play on this trip, were fifth and sixth, respectively.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have scored just three goals during the current losing streak and four overall in their last seven losses.
Lisin has six goals and seven assists in 47 games and his assist in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Penguins was his first since Dec. 23.
It's his world-class skating speed that intrigues Rangers coach John Tortorella but it's his defensive struggles that hold back his game at times. He's been a healthy scratch five times this season and Tortorella kept him rooted to the bench during an 8-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 28.
Tonight will mark the eighth straight game Lisin has skated on fellow Russian Artem Anisimov's right wing and while Tortorella usually doesn't take off-ice friendships into his line decisions, he recognizes the special chemistry between the two.
"It's a little bit of a security blanket for both of them," Tortorella said. "They play well together."
Lisin, Phoenix's second-round pick in 2004, had 13 goals and eight assists in 48 games for the Coyotes last season but was sent to the Rangers for former first-round pick, Lauri Korpikoski. Lisin said the trade didn't surprise him since negotiations for a new contract were dragging and he was considering going back to Russia to play.
"I think they didn't want to sign a deal with me," Lisin said. "My agent said I'm going to get traded. They wanted to sign me to a two-way."
BRIEF: Erik Christensen will rejoin the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games. He'll center the second line with Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky.