Entering the 2011-12 American Hockey League season, the Connecticut Whale roster featured three former Quebec Major Junior Hockey League stars, who all at one point were teammates in the junior development league. And just a month ago, the Whale was provided with another former QMJHL star after the parent New York Rangers made a trade with the Washington Capitals (parent club of the Hershey Bears).

Leading the pack of four forwards is two-time Calder Cup Champion with Hershey, winger Francois Bouchard, who the Rangers’ acquired for blueliner Tomas Kundratek. Bouchard, 23, joined the Whale with zero points to his credit, after playing in nine games with the Bears’. The younger brother of Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard was taken 35th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft by the Capitals, following a stunning season in “The Q” with Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

The Sherbrooke, QC, Canada native began his junior career as a second-round pick of Baie-Comeau in 2004. In his first season with the club, he recorded just 24 points (11 goals and 13 assists) in 54 games. Bouchard took a major step forward during his draft year in 2005-06, when the right-winger led his club in points with 102 (33 goals and 69 assists) in only 69 contests. His play only improved during his third season with Baie-Comeau, when he led the entire QMJHL with 125 points (45 goals and 80 assists) in 68 games. His scoring potential was evident, and Bouchard became a professional with Hershey during the 2008-09 campaign.

Since joining the Whale, the fourth-year pro has scored once and assisted twice in 11 games. He is a minus-1 rating, has six taken three minor-penalties along with 13 shots on goal. Though the former 20-goal scorer continues to struggle in finding his scoring game with this season, Coach Ken Gernander continues to use Bouchard as a top-6 forward and also gives him some power-play time. If Bouchard can re-discover his scoring touch, then he will be able to make more of an impact with his new club. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound, winger, has an impressive shot and is a good passer. For now his impact on the Whale has been limited, but as the season progresses, expect Bouchard and his Calder Cup experience to step up.

Next in line is second-year pro, center Kelsey Tessier. The Whale signed Tessier, 21, last summer after the forward played in his fourth QMJHL season. Originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth-round of the 2008, he was not signed by the NHL organization which allowed the Whale to take him.

Similar to Bouchard, the 2006 pick of the Quebec Remparts (fourth-round) was a pretty good point producer throughout his junior career. In his rookie season with Quebec, Tessier recorded 50 points (23 goals and 27 assists) in 63 games. During his draft year, 2007-08, the Fredericton, NB, Canada, native led the Remparts in scoring with 81 points (36 goals and 45 assists) in 68 games. In his fourth and final QMJHL season, Tessier played in 39 games with the Remparts and recorded 41 points prior to being sent to the Moncton Wildcats at the trading deadline. He collected 12 points in 15 games with Moncton, followed by an impressive playoff performance in which he totaled 30 points in 21 contests.

Tessier became an AHL rookie last season with the Whale, and he played mostly a bottom-6 role with the club which resulted in a 28 point season, with 75 games played.  He also recorded one assist in six playoff games. This season, Tessier has a more prominent role with Connecticut, and is relied on as more than just a bottom-6 forward. The speedy, two-way center receives plenty of penalty-killing time on a unit with veteran Jordan Owens, and he has proven to be an effective defensive-forward. Although he continues to play in a bottom-6 role with the club during even-strength minutes, Tessier’s importance to the team increases with each game. Aside from his work in the defensive zone, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound, center, is a decent in the face-off circle and he has become one of the Whale’s physical energy players. Tessier continues to battle for an NHL contract in the near future, and his current play this season could earn him one.

The final two players are both AHL rookies with the Whale, in former Remparts’ forwards Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and Ryan Bourque.

Audy-Marchessault, 20, signed with the Whale as an undrafted NHL free-agent after participating in four seasons with the Remparts. The diminutive forward was drafted in the 12th round of the 2007 (QMJHL) draft by the Remparts. It was not until his final year with the team that he exploded offensively with a team-leading 95 points (40 goals and 55 assists) in 68 games. In his second act last season, Audy-Marchessault collected 33 playoff points in just 18 games. The Remparts fell short of a QMJHL championship, but the Cap-Rouge, QC, Canada, native, left an impression on several Rangers’ scouts, which resulted in the Whale offering and signing him to a contract.

The first 23 games of his rookie season have been a success. Audy-Marchessault leads the entire Whale team with 22 points (eight goals and 14 assists), and he also leads with 53 shots on goal. Though he is not the biggest skater on the ice (5-foot-9, 175-pounds), ‘JAM’ receives plenty of ice-time from the Whale coaches as the teams’ second-line center during even strength, and the power-play. Audy-Marchessault is not a one-dimensional player, either, as the center excels on the penalty-kill and even has a short-handed goal. He is a highly-skilled player, with tons of scoring potential. Jonathan hopes that his play will result in more interest from NHL clubs next summer, including the Rangers, and possibly an entry-level deal.

Bourque, 20, had a rocky start to his pro-career, enduring an injury just three games into the 2011-12 season. The upper-body injury forced Bourque to miss seven games with the Whale, but since his return, the former Quebec-league star has been of Connecticut’s most consistent performers.

Just a little background on the Whale freshman: he was drafted in the third-round of the 2009 draft by the Rangers as a member of the US National Development Program (U-18). The Remparts were in possession of his QMJHL rights, and that is where Bourque decided to develop his skills. He had the best rookie season of each player mentioned, recording 43 points (19 goals and 24 assists) in 44 games with Quebec. That season (2009-10), Bourque played with current Whale teammates Tessier and Audy-Marchessault on the Remparts. In his second and final season with the Remparts (2010-11), Bourque was the third best scorer with 59 points in 49 games.

As a rookie, Bourque has scored two goals and three assists in 16 games so far this season, but his lack of scoring should not alter your opinion on the top Rangers prospect. Bourque has not been relied on as a scorer for the Whale this season. Instead, the Topsfield, Massachusetts, native, makes his impact as an important penalty-killer and a vital energy player for the Whale. In recent games, the winger has earned extra playing time through his physical play, and was even considered one of the only players who showed up physically for his club during Sunday’s loss to the Binghamton Senators. It is this type of play that will intrigue the Rangers scouts and coaching staff.

Though “The Q” has been very kind to the Whale, the Rangers very rarely pick a player from the QMJHL during the draft each June. In fact, they only have one prospect that is currently a member of the junior league. That player is big-bodied defenseman, Samuel Noreau who plays for Baie-Comeau. He will not turn 20 for another two years, making him ineligible to play an entire season with the Whale until 2013-14.

The Whale may still decide to sign players from Quebec’s top NHL development organization, though, as the impact of these players has been greatly appreciated by the club; especially after 23 games this season.

Chad Kolarik update; could Pavel Valentenko receive a suspension?

Forward Chad Kolarik tweeted today that he expects to be skating with the Whale by January. This is very good news for both Kolarik and the Whale, as the scoring forward has been absent from the teams’ line-up all season after tearing his ACL during training camp in September. He is still not expected to play until March.

Blueliner Pavel Valentenko was given a five-minute major and a game-misconduct on Sunday for an illegal boarding penalty against a Binghamton forward. A suspension has not been dealt to Valentenko yet, but I have been told to expect one in the next day or so. Valentenko also appeared to hurt his hand or wrist on the play, but there has not yet been a confirmed report of an injury.

Follow me on twitter for coverage of the Whale and more @NickPerri_SNYRB

Email me at nickpnyrwriter@gmail.com.

Tags: CT Whale, Nick Perri

Alain Vigneault met with the media in LA earlier today after Rangers practice and said (NYR):

  • Is Henrik playing tomorrow, "no. We will wait until Sunday. It's a 6PM game Sunday and I want him to play 2 of the 3. It makes more sense to play Sunday. We are not going to skate Monday, we will have a morning skate on Tuesday and after talking it over with Benny that is what we decided to do."
  • "He's ready, he could play tomorrow without a doubt. With the 7:30 start and then the 6PM start Benny felt it was a better fit for him."
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New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. (Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. (Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

6:05PM: The Rangers have announced that Dan Girardi will return to the Rangers lineup tomorrow against LA and will be paired with Ryan McDonagh. (NYR)

Girardi has missed the past 12 games while a wound on his ankle healed.

He has 4 goals and 8 assists this season for the Rangers with an average of 18:57 per game, 94 hits, 149 blocked shots, 7 takeaways and 38 giveaways.

When Girardi is on the ice at 5 on 5 the Rangers have 45% of the shot attempts and 46% of the goals scored. (Natural Stat Trick)

Tags: Dan Girardi
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Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Jan 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

5:43PM: Alain Vigneault confirmed that Raanta will start on Saturday and that Lundqvist will start on Sunday and Tuesday. (Zipay)

5:21PM: Henrik Lundqvist announced that he will start on Sunday against the Ducks. (NYR)

This will be Lundqvis'ts first start since he was injured in the Rangers win over Florida on 3/7.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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4:12PM: The lines being used at practice today are (Zipay):

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
  • Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Rick Nash
  • Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller
  • Pavel Buchnevich, Oscar Lindberg, Jesper Fast

4:05PM: At Rangers practice in LA today, the defense pairs being used are (Brooks):

  • Ryan McDonagh & Dan Girardi
  • Marc Staal & Nick Holden
  • Brady Skjei & Brendan Smith

Steve Zipay says that it looks like Pavel Buchnevich will be in for Tanner Glass.

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Feb 2, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) waits for a faceoff during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Rangers beat the Sabres in overtime 2 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Feb 2, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) waits for a faceoff during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Rangers beat the Sabres in overtime 2 to 1. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

Mats Zuccarello has played in close to 90 games since September due to the Rangers schedule, Olympic Qualifications for Norway and the World Cup. (Nettavisen)

He has played in all 74 games for the Rangers, 3 for Norway and 9 for Team Europe (3 preseason, 6 tournament).

Zuccarello said that he doesn't let the amount of games he has played so far this year enter his mind when he is on the ice. (Nettavisen)

Tags: Mats Zuccarello
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

The NY Chapter of the PHWA has nominated Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi for the Masterton Trophy which is given annually to "to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey."

Mats Zuccarello was one of the finalists  for the award last season but did not win.

Dominic Moore won the award in 2014 while with the Rangers.

Marc Staal was the Rangers nominee in 2015.

Tags: Dan Girardi
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Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) reacts as he skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) reacts as he skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

The Rangers have now allowed at least one shorthanded goal against in EIGHT straight games.

The Rangers have allowed 10 goals on their past 27 chances shorthanded

Alain Vigneault said that this is like the cold streak that the Rangers PP was on recently and that "sooner or later" the PK will turn the corner in the same way that the PP has.

Vigneault added, "we have the personnel to get the job done and we will."

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Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) shoots and scores a goal in front of New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) shoots and scores a goal in front of New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (14) during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Rick Nash has goals in consecutive games for the first time since before the Christmas break.

He has 2 goals and 5 shots in the past two games after going 9 games without a goal.

Nash said after his goal in New Jersey and after his goal against the Islanders that he is "here" & "paid" to score goals. (NY Post)

Tags: Rick Nash
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The Rangers have signed UFA goaltender Chris Nell of Bowling Green State Univeristy.

Nell, 22, was undrafted and went 17-14-2 this past season for BGSU with a 2.15 GAA and .916 save percentage.

From the Rangers release, "Over his final eight appearances of the season, Nell posted a 7-1-0 record, along with a 1.26 GAA, a .957 SV%, and 3 SO, and he registered three consecutive shutouts from Feb. 11 vs. Mercyhurst to Feb. 25 vs. Alabama-Huntsville. He was named the NCAA's First Star of the Week, as well as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, for the week ending on Feb. 26, as he stopped all 71 shots he faced in two appearances."

In his college career he went 41-29-10 with a GAA of 2.07, 11 shutouts and a save percentage of .922.

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Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) shoots against New Jersey Devils defenseman Steven Santini (34) during the second period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) shoots against New Jersey Devils defenseman Steven Santini (34) during the second period of a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Tanner Glass replaced Pavel Buchnevich in the Rangers lineup last night after being a scratch for two straight games.

  • Glass played 6:50, had a fight in the second period, 1 shot on goal and 2 hits.
  • He played 2:45 in the first, 2:01 in the second and 2:04 in the third.

Alain Vigneault said before the game that due to some bumps and bruises the Rangers had some game time decisions and he said after the game that the opponent being the Islanders also played into the decision.

Vigneault said I just thought that making those two changes would help us out and for the most part our group as a whole played a strong game."

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Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) reacts as he skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)
Mar 22, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) reacts as he skates off the ice after losing to the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

The Rangers out-shot the Islanders 36 to 28 (28-21 at 5 on 5) and out-attempted the Islanders 71 to 54, (54-41 at 5 on 5)

Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers played a "strong game,' had "good looks" offensively and defensively didn't give up much.

He said, "we came out and played a good game, it was a hard fought battle and we just got on the wrong side of a couple of bounces in the third."

Antti Raanta said that it was the first "really good 60 minutes at home" in some time and that the Rangers were the "better team" but didn't have "the luck." (Rangers Game Notes)

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Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Magnus Hellberg (45) makes a glove save against the New York Islanders during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Magnus Hellberg (45) makes a glove save against the New York Islanders during the second period during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on MSG following the Rangers loss to the Isles and said:

  • "the way we came out, we played a strong game. We had some real good looks, defensively we didn't give up much. We got a little unlucky in the third period as far as bounces on our PK. The only way to get the right bounces is to continue to work smart and hard. That is what this group is gonna do. We came out and played a good game, it was a hard fought battle and we just got on the wrong side of a couple of bounces in the third."
  • On missing chances offensively, "give their goalie credit, he made some big saves and give them credit also. They are battling hard and they came up with a solid effort also."
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GEICO SportsNite: NYI@NYR 00:01:04
Alain Vigneault, Ryan McDonagh and John Tavares break down the game between the crosstown rivals as the Islanders defeated the Rangers, 3-2.

The Islanders scored two goals in the third period to defeat the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, 3-2.  >> Read more

First Period

  • 2:46 NYR Mats Zuccarello (Power Play); Assists: Mika Zibanejad, Derek Stepan

Second Period

  • 3:40 NYI Anders Lee; Assists: Anthony Beauviller, Nick Leddy
  • 6:36 NYR Rick Nash; Assists: Oscar Lindberg, Nick Holden

Third Period

  • 5:01 NYI Nikolay Kulemin (Power Play); Assists: Anthony Beavuillier, Joshua Ho-Sang
  • 12:38 NYI Andrew Ladd (Power Play); Assists: Anders Lee, John Tavares
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with forward Oscar Lindberg (24) and forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with forward Oscar Lindberg (24) and forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

11:14PM: Asked about putting Glass and Kampfer in, Alain Vigneault said that it had somehwat to do with it being a back to back, "a little bit of that, a little bit of the opponent also. I just thought that making those two changes would help us out and for the most part our group as a whole played a strong game."

8:02PM: The Rangers have confirmed that Buchnevich and Clendening are scratched.

7:47PM: According to the line rushes in warmups, Tanner Glass will replace Pavel Buchnevich and Steven Kampfer will replace Adam Clendening in the Rangers lineup tonight. (Brooks)

Alain Vigneault said earlier in the day that the Rangers had some gametime decisions relating to bumps and bruises in the second part of a back to back.

Tags: Adam Clendening, Pavel Buchnevich, Steve Kampfer, Tanner Glass
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New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)
New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Ottawa Senators at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)

The Rangers return to MSG tonight having lost six straight on home ice and face an Islanders team that is currently three points out of a playoff spot.

Alain Vigneault was asked about matching the Islanders desperation tonight and said that the Rangers don't have a checkmark by their name for the playoffs yet and that "we will come ready to play tonight."

On playing at home, Vigneault said that the Rangers just need to put a 60 minute game together on home ice.

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Oct 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on from the bench against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Red Wings won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on from the bench against the Detroit Red Wings during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Red Wings won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Alain Vigneault met with the media prior to tonight's game against the Isles and said (NYR):

  • On the lineup, "I have some gametime decisions to make. Back to back, some bumps and bruises and we will probably decide during warmups. There is a possibility up front and a definite possibility on defense."
  • Hank is doing real well. If you'd ask him he would probably want to play tonight but we will get through what we decided before, he will skate today, skate in LA and then he will get in 2 of the 3 games on that trip."
  • Which games, "not sure if it's Saturday or Sunday, we are still looking at the different options there but he should be able to play two of the three games."
  • More on Hank, "I would say that if we really need him tonight he might play. That is how good he has felt, he is that close. He has been working hard and right now it's about us being smart about this and that is what we are doing."
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Feb 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) warms up before playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)
Feb 23, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) warms up before playing against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports (Tom Szczerbowski)

11:54AM: Alain Vigneault said that Antti Raanta will start tonight against the Islanders but that Henrik Lundqvist is likely to play 2 of the 3 games on the Rangers upcoming road trip. (NYR)

The Rangers play in LA on Saturday, Anaheim on Sunday and San Jose next Tuesday.

It had been suggested that the Rangers were targeting their California trip as a time when Lundqvist could return.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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11:41AM: The Rangers are conducting their morning skate today and the following players are on the ice: Tanner Glass, Steven Kampfer, Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel, Kevin Klein, Dan Girardi and Henrik Lundqvist. (NYR)

The Rangers announced yesterday that the players on the ice this morning would be the "extras."

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Mar 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) hits New Jersey Devils left wing Joseph Blandisi (64) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)
Mar 21, 2017; Newark, NJ, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) hits New Jersey Devils left wing Joseph Blandisi (64) during the second period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

The Rangers had 68 shot attempts against the Devils last night, compared to the 41 that the Devils had.

The Rangers had 14 hits, the Devils had 15 and the Rangers forced the Devils into 11 giveaways compared to only 3 for the Rangers.

JT Miller said that it was a "playoff-type game" and that everyone put their bodies on the line. (NY Times & Newsday)

Antti Raanta said that there was a lot of "emotion and energy" against the Devils last night and that overall it was a "pretty solid 60" for the Rangers. (NY Post)

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 (AP)
(AP)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on MSG following the Rangers loss to the Devils and said:

  • On the battle level, "it was a competitive game, no doubt there. Both teams, and we talked about this prior to the game, their top line, I don't know how they are playing against other teams but against us they are giving us a handful, lots of speed and skill. For the most part both teams battled hard, made plays, lots of physicality and we were able to come back and tie it up. In OT we had some looks and they were able to make us pay when we missed the net and they came down 2 on 1."
  • On the emotion in the game, "every game is competitive and there is no doubt that there was some physicality and some bad blood in there. That is part of hockey and we need to refocus because we have another tough matchup tomorrow night."
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Raanta positive following loss 00:00:28
Rangers goalie Antti Raanta talks about the 3-2 loss against the New Jersey Devils and how the Rangers played well despite the result.

Second Period

15:16 NJD John Quenneville (Power Play); Assists: Joseph Blandisi, Pavel Zacha

16:53 NYR Oscar Lindberg; Assists: Jimmy Vesey, Pavel Buchnevich

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Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)
Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) skates during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports (Danny Wild)

Rick Nash has not scored in the four games since he returned from injury and hasn't scored in 9 games overall, dating back to 2/26 against Columbus.

Nash has put 44 shots on goal during his nine-game scoreless streak and has a shooting percentage of 2.3% during that stretch.

In 60 games last season Nash had 15 goals and 21 assists, with a shooting percentage of 8.2% in 16:56 per game.

Tags: Rick Nash
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (24) scores a goal on New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (24) scores a goal on New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) during the third period at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Rangers have allowed PP goals against in six straight games, allowing teams to go 7 for 20 in that span.

The Rangers now rank 20th in the NHL in penalty killing, 25th at home but 8th on the road.

Alain Vigneault spoke before the game against Minnesota and said that the Rangers road PK has been good this season but that on the road they have been having a lot of "miscues and misreads."

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The Rangers magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 8, according to Steve Zipay.

The Rangers can clinch a spot with any combination of 8 points either gained by them or lost by the Islanders.

The Rangers have a 100% chance of making the playoffs according to Sports Club Stats.

According to PlayoffStatus.com the Rangers have a 91% chance of finishing in the top Wild Card spot with a less than 1% chance of falling to the second Wild Card spot.

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Alain Vigneault met with the media following Monday's practice and said (NYR):

  • On Hank, "I know he has been following the medical protocol and going through the different stages with Benny on the ice. Talked to him briefly before practice and said he was feeling much better, he looked alright and did most of the practice today and will skate again tomorrow and go from there."
  • More on Hank, "I think the logical thing to say is that we are on the same protocol before and that I would expect him at some point on the California trip."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Kevin Klein has been out since 2/21 and has missed the past 13 games with back spasms.

Alain Vigneault said on Monday that Klein, along with Dan Girardi, have both been cleared medically to return but after being out so long they need to get back "up to speed."

Vigneault cited pace and execution as two things that Klein and Girardi need to get back.

Tags: Kevin Klein
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Jan 23, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Jan 23, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts after defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

3/20/17 | 4:06PM: Alain Vigneault said today:

  • On Hank, "I know he has been following the medical protocol and going through the different stages with Benny on the ice. Talked to him briefly before practice and said he was feeling much better, he looked alright and did most of the practice today and will skate again tomorrow and go from there."
  • More on Hank, "I think the logical thing to say is that we are on the same protocol before and that I would expect him at some point on the California trip."

3:05PM: Lundqvist spoke today and said (NYR):

  • "I felt pretty good. The toughest part for me is being patient and not trying to do too much. We have a plan and trying to stick to that. The last couple of days have been really good, I think, on the ice and now it's about getting my speed and timing back. I can feel that I have been away for a little bit but a couple of good days of practice and get back to it."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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 Brian Compton, Nick Licalzi, and Adam Rotter look back at the Rangers' win over the Wild, Brady Skjei's homecoming, Marc Staal's unfamiliar spot on the blue line, and Jimmy Vesey's return to the scoresheet. Later, Alex Prewitt of Sports Illustrated calls in to discuss his piece on Kevin Hayes.

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1:36PM: The Rangers will use the same lineup that defeated Minnesota on Saturday when they visit Newark to play the Devils tomorrow. (NYR)

This means that both Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Clendening will play for the second straight game and that Antti Raanta will be in net.

Ryan McDonagh, who had a maintenance day, will play tomorrow. (NYR)


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12:41PM: Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Klein and Dan Girardi are all skating today at Rangers practice. (NYR)

Ryan McDonagh is not skating with what the team has termed a maintenance day.

Klein and Girardi are skating as a pair together and are unlikely to play against the Devils tomorrow. (Zipay)

Steve Zipay says that the Rangers seem to have their "Kid Line" of Pavel Buchnevich, Jimmy Vesey and Oscar Lindberg still together. (Zipay)

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Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) celebrates his game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. New York won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) celebrates his game winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. New York won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

Larry Brooks writes that the Rangers best lineup is one that includes JT Miller playing on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Michael Grabner. (NY Post)

Brooks writes that Alain Vigneault needs to have confidence in Jimmy Vesey and boost him back into the top-six which can allow Miller to slide down to the third line. (NY Post)

Miller has skated with Rick Nash in the past few games and while Brooks says that Miller and Nash play well together and are the team's "two best forwards by a considerable margin," taking Miller away from Hayes hurts the Rangers chemistry and "dilutes" their depth. (NY Post)

Brooks writes that the Rangers need to rely on their depth to win and that they are a much deeper team with Vesey in the top-six and Miller playing with Hayes. (NY Post)

Tags: J.T. Miller
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Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) takes a slap shot during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)
Jan 7, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening (4) takes a slap shot during the third period against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Rangers defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports (Russell LaBounty)

In his return to the lineup on Saturday, Adam Clendening played 10:48 and had an assist.

Clendening had been a healthy scratch for six games after the Rangers called up Steve Kampfer.

He played 4:52 in the first period, 4:44 in the second period and 1:12 in the third period.

Tags: Adam Clendening
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) celebrates with defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) following the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) celebrates with defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) following the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Chris Kreider said that when the Rangers play on the road they play a "north-south" game but that when they are on the road they play more "east-west." (NY Post)

Kreider said that the Rangers pay more attention to detail on the road and need to straighten things out at MSG. (NY Post)

Rick Nash talked about Friday about the Rangers being too "cute" with their play at MSG and said that they may have been "too cute" with some odd-man rushes on Saturday in Minnesota but that overall they simplified and "played the kind of game we need." (NY Post)

Nash said that the Rangers play with a clearer mind when on the road and that when they are at home they try too hard to impress with their skill and speed. (NY Post)

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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) hits Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) during the first period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) hits Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) during the first period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Marc Staal was paired with Ryan McDonagh for the 7th straight game last night but, for the first time, Staal was paired on the right while McDonagh played on the left.

Staal has played his career almost entirely on the left side and told Larry Brooks that he couldn't remember the last time he played an entire game as the right defenseman. (NY Post)

He played 21:06 and told Brooks that he didn't know he was playing on the right side until he saw it on the board. He said that Vigneault didn't give him a reason for the switch and that he just "went out and played." (NY Post)

Tags: Marc Staal
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal on Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal on Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Jimmy Vesey scored his first goal in 14 games last night.

Vesey last scored on 2/16 against the Islanders and has 4 goals in the past 31 games.

He had two shots on goal, 1 shot attempt blocked, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot.

Tags: Jimmy Vesey
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with forward Oscar Lindberg (24) and forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with forward Oscar Lindberg (24) and forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Pavel Buchnevich returned to the Rangers lineup last night in place of Tanner Glass after being scratched on Friday in favor of Glass.

Buchnevich played 9:42, had an assist, 1 shot on goal and 2 shot attempts blocked.

He played 3:09 in the first period, 4:11 in the second period and 2:22 in the third period, all at even strength.

When he was on the ice the Rangers had 9 shot attempts for, 5 against, 4 shots on goal for and 5 against. (Natural Stat Trick)

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates his goal with teammates during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Despite being outshot 12-9 in the first period, the Rangers and Wild went to the first intermission tied at 1.

Overall the Rangers outshot the Wild 30-27 and outhit the Wild 14-12, with 8 of those hits coming from Marc Staal and Nick Holden (4 each).

Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers played a "good game in a real tough building" and had a "real gutsy performance."

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Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on prior to the game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

Alain Vigneault met with the media on MSG following the Rangers win over Minnesota and said:

  • On the game, "there is no doubt that we played a good game in a real tough building. We got in late last night and I thought that it was a real gutsy performance by our group here. They started real hard and we were able to get by that first hard wave but after that we played solid both offensively and defensively and we had some good looks and when we had breakdowns Antti made some good saves."
  • On battle level, "to come into play this team, you just look at their lineup and to get two points you need a solid effort from the whole group. We got that tonight, our kids line was real good and got us that big goal in the second period and we did what we had to do to get the two points."
  • On the line switch, "it happened early on, we took those penalties and I wanted to get Nasher and Step back together on one of the units and by doing that, we killed the second penalty and we had a faceoff in their end, Step was a little tired and I put Mika out there and they scored. I just figured that I would go with that. (Laugh) Wasn't a lot of thinking on that one."
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) shoots during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) shoots during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

Brady Skjei spoke on MSG about his goal tonight and scoring against his hometown team.

Skjei said, "It's unbelievable. It's a rink I've come to since I was a little kid. It's my hometown team, it's a dream come true and I won't forget that one."

Tags: Brady Skjei
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Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) celebrates with defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) following the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Mar 18, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) celebrates with defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) following the game against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Rangers defeated the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

The Rangers held off the Minnesota Wild, 3-2, on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. >> Read more


First period:

  • 12:54 MIN Eric Staal; Assists: Martin Hanzai, Matt Dumba
  • 16:01 NYR Brady Skjei; Assists: Mats Zuccarello, Adam Clendening 

Second period:

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Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) in action against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) in action against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

6:58PM: Adam Clendening is in for Steven Kampfer and Buchnevich is in for Tanner Glass.

Vigneault said earlier tonight (NYR):

  • "Our PK on the road has been good, at home it's miscues and misreads and it's an area that we are spending a lot of time on. It's an are that we know, speciality teams, need to be better and we are spending a lot of time on it."
  • On being consistent, "you look at last night's game and we are ready to play. In the first 10 minutes we had a lot of looks and other than one scoring chance 5 on 5 we didn't give them anything in the first. Then we took a penalty and they had two opportunities off of that. The second we know wasn't good enough, we weren't skating or moving the puck but we played real well in the third. We know as a group that it's a 60 minute effort and that is what we will try to do tonight."
  • On injury updates, "Kleiner skated and felt good. Dan did not skate, a scheduled off day for him, so we will see how they all are tomorrow."
  • On Buchnevich, "he's a young player, like I have mentioned a lot of times. We are talking to him about the areas that he is doing well and want him to continue and there are other areas where he needs to improve on and we are doing that on a daily basis and I am confident he will have a good game tonight."

5:03PM: Antti Raanta will start for the Rangers tonight against Minnesota. (Russo)

Pavel Buchnevich will return to the Rangers lineup and Alain Vigneault said that there are some game time decisions on the lineup. (Russo)

Tags: Antti Raanta, Pavel Buchnevich
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Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) scores a goal against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer (34) during third period at Madison Square Garden. The Florida Panthers defeated New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Mats Zuccarello (36) scores a goal against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer (34) during third period at Madison Square Garden. The Florida Panthers defeated New York Rangers 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Mats Zuccarello scored twice last night, his first multi-point game since January 17th and his first multi-goal goal since 10/28.

Zuccarello has a three-game point streak and has 30 points (6 goals and 24 assists) in the past 38 games. (Rangers Game Notes)

This is the fourth straight season where Zuccarello has at least 49 points and his 3rd season in the past 4 where he has registered 50 points.

Alain Vigneault spoke about Zuccarello after the game last night and said, "even when he wasn't scoring goals I thought he was working extremely hard and playing well. This is a 200ft game, there are two nets and you gotta play well at both ends and Mats had been doing that even though he hadn't been scoring for us."

Tags: Mats Zuccarello
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Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) controls the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) controls the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Rangers are winless in their last six games at home (0-4-2) and have been outscored 23 to 11.

Rick Nash said last night that the Rangers try to make "cute plays" at home while on the road they play in straight lines and make simple plays.

Nash said that the Rangers talk about playing in straight lines and getting pucks on net while on the bench and need to find a way to simplify their game at home.

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Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) at Madison Square Garden. The Florida Panthers defeated New York Rangers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Mar 17, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Antti Raanta (32) at Madison Square Garden. The Florida Panthers defeated New York Rangers 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Rangers were up 2-0 and up 7-2 in shots for about the first 7-8 minutes of last night's game against the Florida before ending the period still up 2-0 but down 11-7 in shots.

In the second period the Panthers scored twice to tie the game and out-shot the Rangers 14-8 and were out-attempting the Rangers through two periods 43 to 31. (HockeyStats)

Tanner Glass mentioned during the second intermission that the Rangers compete and battle level was not where it needed to be in the second period. (MSG)

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Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Alain Vigneault spoke with the media on MSG following the Rangers loss to Florida and said:

  • What changed after the first 10, "there is no doubt that our group came ready to play tonight and we had a good start, had the first 5 scoring chances. The last 10 minutes of the first and in the second period we just didn't sustain it, we stopped moving our feet the way we can, stopped moving the puck the way we can and they were the better team during that time. In the third period I thought we played extremely well and had some good looks, they made a great play that gave them the lead and we were able to fight back and tie it up."
  • On the games left at MSG, "again, I said it this morning and I will say it again, it's 200x85. Whether you are here or in Philly or anywhere else it's the same ice surface. For 30 minutes we were able to play a real strong game, we gotta put 60 minutes together and there is no overthinking about it, it's as simple as that."
  • On Zuccarello, "even when he wasn't scoring goals I thought he was working extremely hard and playing well. This is a 200ft game, there are two nets and you gotta play well at both ends and Mats had been doing that even though he hadn't been scoring for us."
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Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) skates against the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center. Nash scores game winning goal. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)
Dec 15, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; New York Rangers right wing Rick Nash (61) skates against the Dallas Stars during the game at the American Airlines Center. Nash scores game winning goal. The Rangers shut out the Stars 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports (Jerome Miron)

Rick Nash spoke with John Giannone on MSG after the Rangers loss to Florida and said:

  • "It seems like we play in straight lines on the road, pucks deep and at home we try to make the cute plays and not get as many shots on net. We are trying to bring that road game home."
  • Do you realize it's happening, "yea, I think that, you are down there and hear us on the bench and we are trying to play in straight lines, trying to get shots through and when it's 7-8 shots on net in the second it's obviously not good enough. Trying to simplify our game at home, not try and make so many cute plays. That is what we do on the road and why we have success."
  • On battle level in the second, "they took it to us after the first 10 minutes of the game, they trapped us in our zone. Their D came down low on the wingers, we weren't able to make plays to get the puck out of the zone, we struggled a bit until we started to play a chip and chase game."
  • On getting one point, "we didn't play our best but we got a point, with a chance for two. It's a quick turnaround, short-term memory and we have a game tomorrow against one of the best teams in the league."
Tags: Rick Nash
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The Rangers' Mats Zuccarello, left, and Marc Staal, right, defend Florida's Thomas Vanek during the first period. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
The Rangers' Mats Zuccarello, left, and Marc Staal, right, defend Florida's Thomas Vanek during the first period. (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

The Rangers blew a two-goal lead after the first period and lost 4-3 to the Panthers in a shootout Friday at the Garden. The Rangers have lost six in a row at home. >> Read more


First period:

  • 2:34 NYR Mats Zuccarello (Power Play) Assists: Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan
  • 4:11 NYR J.T. Miller Assists: Brendan Smith, Mika Zibanejad 

Second period:

Tags: Chris Kreider, Florida Panthers, Mats Zuccarello, Michael Grabner
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New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates scoring a goal during the second period against the Dallas Stars at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)

3:26PM: Alain Vigneault said that Pavel Buchnevich is "going to play," but not tonight against Florida.

Vigneault said that there is a "lot of hockey left" and that while Buchnevich has been dealing with some inconsistencies, "he is going to play."

He continued that the Rangers have a "lot of faith in his skill level and the way that he can play" and that he has had some good games lately.

Larry Brooks wrote in the NY Post that if Buchnevich isn't in the lineup to work through his issues then the Rangers likely won't be able to count on him contributing in the playoffs.

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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