At THN, Ryan Kennedy puts Rangers fourth round pick Michael St. Croix on his weekly look at prospects.

St. Croix has 17 goals and 46 points so far this season. He is 5-11, 176

[jbutton color="red" link="http://www.snyrangersblog.com/category/michael-st-croix/" size="xsmall"]CLICK HERE[/jbutton] for more on St. Croix.

Tags: Michael St. Croix, Adam Rotter

Dec 31, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) looks on during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)
Dec 31, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) looks on during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports (Ron Chenoy)

Henrik Lundqvist has won two straight games for the Rangers and on Sunday praised the team's return to structure and how his teammates have been playing in front of him. (NYR)

Lundqvist said that he changed his mindset and corrected a few things in his game but "the biggest change is how we play in front of me with structure and not giving the big chances up in front, it make a big difference for me." (NYR)

He said that it's easier for him to be patient when he knows someone will be there to apply pressure to a shooter and that the Rangers have been doing that the past two games. (NYR)

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

1/23/17 | 2:17PM: Marc Staal spoke with reporters on Monday and said (NYR):

  • "I feel good. Over the last bunch of days I have been feeling a lot better and skating a lot harder and definitely going in the right direction, feeling pretty good."
  • Are you still in the protocol, "it's day by day but we have been pushing harder as the week has gone on and it's gone well. Waiting to see how we react and then keep on going. Had a good skate today again and hopefully will respond well again and keep on pushing."
  • On skating, "A bunch of times on my own, actually got to shoot on a goalie today which was nice. Going in the right direction."
  • On the steps he is taking, "with this type of thing it can be frustrating and any step forward in the way that you are feeling and the closer you can to get back on the ice with the team the better you are going to feel and it's going in that direction."
  • On not rushing back, "it's hard. Having been through it before you learn your lessons in treating it the right way and it's the type of injury where you can't put a timetable on it but it's starting to feel pretty good and we are going in the right direction."
  • On his past experience with concussions, "as far as talking with the training staff and doctors and how I feel and then you make a game plan going forward. It's not something you can project and you go at it day by day and when you are ready to go, you go."

Pierre McGuire said on the Rangers Blue Line Podcast on Monday that he visited with Staal on Sunday and Staal said that he feels he is "starting to make some significant inroads in terms of getting better. That would be huge for them defensively."

Tags: Marc Staal
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Brian Compton, Nick Licalzi, and Adam Rotter discuss Henrik Lundqvist's improved play over the past two games and Michael Grabner's continued excellence in the scoring column. Later, NBC Sports' Pierre McGuire calls in to praise the King, and to talk about potential trades in the next month.

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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) scores a goal against Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason (35) during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

1/23/17 | 12:19PM: The Rangers have announced that Kevin Hayes is out 2-3 weeks with a lower body injury.

1/22/17 | 3:33PM: Hayes was "limping stiffly" in the Rangers locker room and had a brace on his left knee/leg, according to Steve Zipay.

2:25PM: The Rangers have announced that Kevin Hayes suffered a lower body injury in the second period and will not return.

Tags: Kevin Hayes
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2:13PM: Raanta spoke on Monday after the Rangers morning skate and said (NYR):

  • "Pretty good. Every day is a little better. We have been working a lot. When you have the chance to go on the ice and work on normal stuff it feels good."
  • "It's been feeling good and when you do lots of stuff off the ice you always try to figure out what feels good and not and when you have a chance to go on the ice and do the normal movement stuff you can feel straight away how it feels. I think this was the third time I was on the ice but the first time I had all of my gear on. It feels good and I can feel that I have some work to do and some treatment to go through and we are on the right track right now."
  • On the timeline being after the All-Star break, "I think that is the timeline. Only two more games, today and Wednesday...if we would have a little bit longer break and a couple of practices it could be before but the games come so fast and that is how we will go for now and get straight back after the All-Star break."
Tags: Antti Raanta
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Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) skates with the puck defended by Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou (72) in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. New York won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Rangers left wing J.T. Miller (10) skates with the puck defended by Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou (72) in the third period at Joe Louis Arena. New York won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

While speaking after the game in Detroit yesterday, Alain Vigneault said "a win, is a win, is a win, eh?" and added that the Rangers would take the two points.

He said that there wasn't a lot of flow to the game, that the ice was "horrendous" and that the Rangers couldn't make a pass because the puck was "bouncing all over the place."

Vigneault added, "It took 5-6 minutes of each period for the ice to be horrible and I think that had a lot to do with the show we saw on the ice today."

Derek Stepan said that there were a lot of bouncing pucks and neither team gave the other a lot of space on the ice. (NYR)

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Alain Vigneault met with the media in Detroit following the Rangers win and said (NYR):

  • On the game, "both teams tonight didn't generate a lot offensively. We got a little bit better in the second period. The first period we chased the game a little bit, our faceoff percentage wasn't very high. We got better in the second, a little better in the third but a win is a win is a win, eh? We will take the win. Hank didn't have a lot of work but when he did he made some good saves. We will take the two points and go home and get ready for tomorrow."
  • On the ice, "I am glad you are pointing that out, I know the ice was the same for both teams but the quality of the ice was just horrendous. When you can't put two passes together because the puck is bouncing all over the place, it makes it very hard on both players who have skill and makes it hard to put that skill on display. It took 5-6 minutes of each period for the ice to be horrible and I think that had a lot to do with the show we saw on the ice today."
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JT Miller scored the OT winner of the Red Wings today off a feed from Mats Zuccarello

Tags: J.T. Miller
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Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) skates with the puck defended by New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)
Jan 22, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) skates with the puck defended by New York Rangers defenseman Nick Holden (22) in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports (Rick Osentoski)

First Period:

  • No Scoring

Second Period:

  • No Scoring

Third Period:

  • No Scoring

OT:

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Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) waits for play to begin against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey (26) waits for play to begin against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

 

Alain Vigneault said on Saturday that Jimmy Vesey's decrease in ice time isn't so much because of how he is playing but because of returning players like Rick NashMika Zibanejad and Pavel Buchnevich.

Vigneault also pointed to the success of the Derek Stepan line and the Kevin Hayes line and that Vesey is going through the process of becoming a pro.

Tags: Jimmy Vesey
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GEICO SportsNite: Rangers 00:01:06
Rick Nash and Dan Girardi say the Rangers must maintain momentum as they prepare for Sunday's game against the Red Wings in Detroit.

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 met with the media on Saturday prior to the Rangers trip to Detroit (NYR):

  • On Zuccarello, "just came off for maintenance. Can't hide anything from you, but just from that hit he got in Toronto. He should be fine tomorrow. He skated the first 20 and then came off for prevention."
  • On Marc Staal, "he has continued to skate on his own. Nothing new to report, just continue to follow protocol."
  • Are you hoping he will be able to practice soon, "not hoping anything right now, going with the players we have available at this time and when the medical staff tells me that he is good to join us I will be very happy."
  • On Puempel, "He has been cleared, this is his first real team practice. He has been cleared and I think he is anxious to get back at it."
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1/21/17 | 1:52PM: The Rangers plan to use the same lineup in Detroit tomorrow that they used on Thursday. (NYR)

12:38PM: Mats Zuccarello left practice early and the team is saying that it's maintenance and likely related to the hit he took against Toronto. (Cyrgalis)

12:25PM: At practice on Saturday, the Rangers are using the following lines (Cyrgalis):

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

Matt Puempel is skating as an extra on defense and Marc Staal is not on the ice.

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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Pavel Buchnevich (89) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

Pavel Buchnevich has a four-game point streak and six points (2 goals and 4 assist) since returning to the Rangers lineup last Friday.

He has 6 shots on goal and is averaging 15:19 per game since returning.

Alain Vigneault said earlier in the week that Buchnevich wants to make plays with the puck, sees the ice well and is going through the process of becoming a pro in the NHL.

He said that he would like Buchnevich to shoot the puck a bit more and added that Buchnevich understands English pretty well, understands everything and is getting better at speaking it.

Tags: Pavel Buchnevich
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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller (10) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller (10) skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

JT Miller has points in 8 of his last 9 games and has 3 goals in the past 4 games.

Miller had a seven game point streak snapped on Tuesday against Dallas but has six goals and five assists in the past 9 games.

Tags: J.T. Miller
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Earlier this week DaveArt showed the new mask that Henrik Lundqvist has started to wear this season.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Michael Grabner (40) reacts after scoring a shorthanded goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) in the third period at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers forward Michael Grabner (40) reacts after scoring a shorthanded goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) in the third period at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

1/21/17 | 6:59PM: Vigneault said of Grabner on Saturday:

  • On Grabner, "I looked at the game that he had in Toronto and it was a phenomenal game. 2 on 1s and breakways, forced them into taking two penalties, he got the goal that really broke their back. That speed and a lot of how we are throwing pucks in his area is helping his game and it's also helping the guys that he is playing with. There is some pretty good chemistry with those three players and it's helping them on that line."
  • On Grabner being able to finish this year, "players get a little swagger and a good feel for their game and a good feel for their release and instead of going the other way. Last year he was getting some looks and I remember him getting 1-2 breakaways a game from the Islanders and I remember him from Van and it was the same way. Now he is on sequence where he is seeing the net and seeing the holes and putting it in. For us it's real good."

1/20/17 | 2:05PM: Michael Grabner scored twice last night against the Leafs, giving him 21 on the season in 45 games.

Grabner scored his prior 21 goals in a stretch of 129 games that spanned over two-years. (TSN)

From the Rangers post game notes:

  • Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals this season (20).
  • He has notched nine points (seven goals, two assists) in the last six games.
  • Grabner has recorded all of his last 12 points, as well as 20 of his last 21 points, in games on the road, and he leads the NHL in plus/minus rating on the road this season (plus-20).
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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts after a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) reacts after a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. New York defeated Toronto 5-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 23 of 25 shots last night against Toronto and ended his three-game losing streak.

Alain Vigneault noted after the game last night that the first chance against Lundqvist was a deflection and he "came up with a real big save."

Vigneault said that there is "no doubt" that it was a "huge" save right off the bat and that it was "good" for Lundqvist and the whole team.

He added that Lundqvist made some saves that gave the whole team confidence and again reiterated that everyone in the organization has confidence in Lundqvist.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman (11) battle along the boards during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman (11) battle along the boards during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

Henrik Lundqvist said after the game last night that the Rangers win in Toronto was a "big game" for himself and the team.

Lundqvist said that sometimes in an 82 game season one win means a bit more than another and he put the win over Toronto in that category.

He added that the Rangers really shut things down in the third period to limit Toronto.

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New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault gives instructions during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault gives instructions during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Alain Vigneault spoke on MSG after the Rangers win over the Leafs and said:

  • On the game, "Like I mentioned before I think we were playing some pretty good hockey. We came in here tonight and played a good game at both ends of the rink, in front of Hank and also as far as moving the puck and getting some offensive looks. Our guys did a real good job on the PK. We got some good offensive opportunities and were able to capitalize there to make it 4-2 in the third."
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Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov (47) during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)
Jan 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Leo Komarov (47) during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports (John E. Sokolowski)

Henrik Lundqvist spoke with the media on MSG following the Rangers win over Toronto and said:

  • "I think it was a big game for me. Big game for the team to respond in a good way. Sometimes a win means a little bit more. You play 82 games and some wins you put right away in your bag but I think today you enjoy it a little extra after what I have been through the last week or so. It's not fun as a goalie to give up a lot of goals and try to stay confident, I told the guys that I want be there for the group and make a difference when they need me to. Sometimes it's a fast game and a lot of things happen in front of you that you don't expect but as a goalie you need to react in a good way and come up with the saves. Today it was better. They still get a few chances and I felt like tonight I was more on my toes and able to make those saves."
  • Was there a moment tonight, "I don't know if I had a moment like that, I really tried to just focus minute by minute, just build my game and not rush anything. Be patient and they are a tricky team and they have some skill and can make some plays, it was nice how we could shut them down a bit in the third. In the first two periods it was a little more back and forth with some 2 on 1s and breakaways but in the third we really shut it down. It was a good feeling and I think the guys, they gain confidence when they play like that as well. It opens up, we can get more offense when we shut it down like that and they have to start taking chances."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Rangers forward Derek Stepan (21) and Toronto forward Nazem Kadri (43) battle for the puck. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Rangers forward Derek Stepan (21) and Toronto forward Nazem Kadri (43) battle for the puck. (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

TORONTO -- Michael Grabner scored two goals against his former team, helping the New York Rangers snap a three-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night.

Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei and J.T. Miller added goals for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves following a series of rough outings.

Tyler Bozak and Zach Hyman scored for Toronto, which had a three-game winning streak stopped. The Maple Leafs had earned 21 of a possible 26 points in their previous 13 games (10-2-1). Frederik Andersen gave up four goals on 40 shots.

Tags: Brady Skjei, Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner
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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

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

  • On Henrik Lundqvist's compete level, "Hank is a real competitor. An individual who takes a lot of pride in his prep. It is not un-normal for a player to go through challenging moments in an 82 game schedule. We have a lot of confidence in him, everyone has said it, players have said it, coaches have said it, management has said it. We need to do a better job in front of him of tightening up in a couple of areas, we have talked to our group about that. We will go out tonight in a real great hockey town and have a real good game."
  • On playing simple, "I think it goes back to making sure that our system, when we don't have the puck, that we put it in place and that when we do have the puck we continue what we have been doing, breaking out of our zone fairly well, generating a lot of quality chances and finishing on a lot. Our play without the puck needs to be good tonight and I am very confident that it is going to be good and our play with the puck needs to continue to be good and I am confident that will be good also."
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New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on against the Dallas Stars during the first period at Madison Square Garden. ( Adam Hunger)

Alain Vigneault said that according to the numbers and statistics that the Rangers track "our game isn't that bad. As a matter of fact it's pretty good."

The Rangers have lost three games in a row since returning from their bye week.

Vigneault said that the Rangers need to tighten up in certain areas and need to be better at taking passes away but that offensively the Rangers are playing with a lot of "speed and tempo."

He said that the Rangers had players in position to defend against the Stars but that they didn't make the right plays.

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Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (41) reacts with teammate Phillip Danault (24) after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)
Jan 14, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron (41) reacts with teammate Phillip Danault (24) after scoring a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Bolte)

Alain Vigneault said that structure and goaltending are connected and that good structure or a big save can provide confidence to the group.

He said that the Rangers need saves like every other team does and that there are other parts of the Rangers game that are "rolling in the right direction."

Henrik Lundqvist was asked about structure and how it impacts his game the other day and said, "for us to be in our structure you need confidence from the goalie to make that extra save. You gotta find a way no matter what, even if there are open chances in front. It's a fast game and mistakes happen and it's my job to be there and clean it up." (NYR)

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers left wing Matt Puempel (12) and Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) watch the puck during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)
Dec 29, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Rangers left wing Matt Puempel (12) and Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) watch the puck during the second period at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports (Matt Kartozian)

Alain Vigneault said yesterday that Matt Puempel has been cleared for contact but wouldn't travel with the team to Toronto for tonight's game.

Puempel was due to stay behind and continue skating and Vigneault said that he needed Puempel to get in a few practices and "see how he reacts to having people around him."

He said that after suffering his second concussion in a few weeks that the Rangers slowed things down in his recovery process, which he thinks has "helped out huge because I feel really good right now." (NY Post)

Puempel has been skating for a while and suffered this latest concussion on 12/31 against Colorado.

Tags: Matt Puempel
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Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates with goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after a shootout win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes (13) and left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) celebrates with goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) after a shootout win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Henrik Lundqvist said on Thursday that the only way he can bounce back from these struggles is to work hard and stay positive. (NYR)

He said that things can change pretty fast and that all he needs is something to build off of to gain confidence and feel good about himself. (NYR)

Alain Vigneault said on Tuesday night that Lundqvist wants to work his way through his recent struggles.

Dan Girardi said on Tuesday that Lundqvist is the "number one guy" on the Rangers and a leader on the team and that his teammates need to be better in front of him. (Rangers Game Notes)

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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Alain Vigneault spoke with the media on Wednesday and said (NYR):

  • On Puempel, "he has been skating on his own, gone through the protocol, cleared for contact. Now it's about getting him a couple of practices and see how he reacts to having people around him and hopefully everything goes well."
  • On Jesper Fast, "upper body, 7-10 days, I'd say that we probably won't see him until we come back from the All-Star break."
  • Will Puempel play tomorrow, "no, he will stay behind and skate on his own and work on his conditioning and hope that everything is good there."
  • On Marc Staal, "he skated this morning. He is staying behind and will skate tomorrow and we will see how he feels in the next couple of days."
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Jan 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) shoots the puck in the game against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)
Jan 4, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) shoots the puck in the game against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports (Jasen Vinlove)

1/23/17 | 5:41PM: Larry Brooks writes that it is not clear yet if the Rangers are committed to a 7-year type of deal worth $45 million that Kevin Shattenkirk will likely command on his next contract but that if they are it would make more sense to sign him on July 1. (NY Post)

1/19/17: 7:01PM: Shattenkirk is reportedly willing to consider multiple options, in regards to a possible trade and extension, including Toronto, Rangers, Boston, San Jose, Colorado, Detroit or Anaheim. (TSN)

Elliotte Friedman noted on Thursday that "rightly or wrongly" there is a belief that Shattenkirk wants to sign with the Rangers. (FanRag)

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1:43PM: Kevin Hayes will play tomorrow in Toronto and Oscar Lindberg will also return in place of Jesper Fast. (NYR)

12:21PM: Kevin Hayes has been given a maintenance day and is not skating today at practice.

Without Hayes and with Oscar Lindberg out 7-10 days the Rangers are practicing with the following lines (Cyrgalis):

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Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers forward Jesper Fast (19) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers forward Jesper Fast (19) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)

1:39PM: Fast is expected to be out until after the All-Star break. (NYR)

12:11PM: The Rangers have announced that Jesper Fast will be out 7-10 days with an upper body injury. (NYR)

Fast was a minus-2 and played 6:31 Tuesday night, with one shot on goal and two blocked shots.

Fast played 3:05 in the first period, 2:03 in the second period and 1:23 in the third period.

Tags: Jesper Fast
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

11:52AM: Chris Kreider has been fined $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for hitting Cody Eakin with his helmet during their fight last night. (NHL Dept of Player Safety)

Tags: Chris Kreider
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Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)
Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (93) skates against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports (Anne-Marie Sorvin)

In his return to the Rangers lineup Tuesday night, Mika Zibanejad scored two goals, was a plus-1 and had seven shots on goal.

Zibanejad played 18:07, had 10 shot attempts and was 9-for-12 on faceoffs. He played 5:37 in the first period, 5:27 in the second period and 7:03 in the third period with 57 seconds on the power play.

Zibanejad skated with Rick Nash (2 assists) and Pavel Buchnevich (1 goal, 2 assists).

After the game, Alain Vigneault said "other than the one where I thought they left the front of our net too quick, they had a strong game. Lots of possession time. They had some good rush opportunities. For first game back it was a step in the right direction."

Tags: Mika Zibanejad
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

While talking after the game last night, Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers put Henrik Lundqvist in a "bad spot" and that he isn't to blame for allowing 7 goals. (MSG)

Dan Girardi said after the game last night that how the Rangers played in front of Lundqvist "wasn't fair" to the Rangers goalie and that they left players wide open in front of the net. (Rangers Game Notes)

Girardi said that in the third period the Rangers played "defense first" and were able to transition that to offense. (Rangers Game Notes)

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New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault gives instructions during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Gene J. Puskar/AP)
New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault gives instructions during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Alain Vigneault spoke on MSG following the Rangers loss to Dallas and said:

  • On all the breakdowns in front, "there is no doubt that we need to do a better job in front of our net. Our offensive game is pretty good at this time. Defensively there are too many breakdowns. We have to be all business here, get back to work tomorrow and get ready for the next game."
  • On the plays in front, "I would say to you that on 3 of the first 4 goals we have someone or some people in front of the net, they just aren't taking the pass. Twice it was defensemen, once it was a forward. It's an easy read to make, it's an easy pass to take and we don't' take it and give the other team a Grade A opportunity. It's something we can work on and we will work on and try to get better for the next game."
  • On Henrik, "he will play the next game. He will try real hard and we will try to play better in front of him. This is a team and we are all in this with one another and we will do what we can to get out of this three game loss."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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GEICO SportsNite: Lundqvist 00:00:43
Henrik Lundqvist fields questions after giving up seven goals to the Dallas Stars.

Henrik Lundqvist spoke on MSG after the Rangers loss to Dallas and said:

  • On his struggles and how to figure it out, "it's hard stuff. I feel like it's embarrassing, frustrating and disappointing at the same time. Spent the last 24 hours working hard and correcting my game and having a pretty good start and then the first period, a couple of misplays where they made us pay. Most goals are scored right in front so as a goalie you need to be more aware. Bottom line is that I need to find another level. It's not good enough. When you are looking for confidence and a good feeling you are hoping for a game where there is a lot of structure and shots are more from the outside. That is not the case right now, it's a lot of opportunities right in front and I need to find a way to get going. It's hard. You try to do all the right things but it's not paying off."
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Recorded Prior to the Dallas Game

Brian Compton, Nick Licalzi, and Adam Rotter are back for another podcast, as the guys discuss Henrik Lundqvist's struggling season, and ponder the question whether these on-ice issues are related to the King's age. Later, Scott Laughlin of SiriusXM calls in to the show for his two cents on Lundqvist, and to talk about the dominant Metropolitan division.

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Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn scores a goal past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn scores a goal past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the first period at Madison Square Garden. (Adam Hunger)

The New York Rangers' three-goal third-period rally fell short as they allowed three goals in the first period and four goals in the second en route to a 7-6 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. >> Read more


First period:

  • 0:27 NYR Derek Stepan; Assists: Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello
  • 12:34 DAL Patrick Eaves (power play); Assists: Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin
  • 12:46 DAL Patrick Sharp; Assist: Radek Faksa
  • 17:54 DAL Jamie Benn; Assists: Cody Eakin, Eaves

Second period:

  • 4:32 DAL Antoine Roussel; Assist: Lauri Korpikoski
  • 9:56 NYR Mika Zibanejad; Assists: Rick Nash, Pavel Buchnevich
  • 12:06 NYR Buchnevich; Assists: Kevin Klein, Adam Clendening
  • 12:54 DAL Patrick Sharp; Assists: Devin Shore, Faksa
  • 15:53 DAL Adam Cracknell; Assists: Korpikoski, Dan Hamhuis
  • 17:40 DAL Eakin; Assists: Eaves, Benn

Third period:

  • 3:11 NYR Kreider; Assists: Stepan, Zuccarello
  • 5:31 NYR Stepan; Assists: Ryan McDonagh, Zuccarello
  • 7:26 NYR Zibanejad; Assists: Nash, Buchnevich
Tags: Adam Clendening, Chris Kreider, Dallas Stars, Derek Stepan, Kevin Klein, Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh
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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

10:31PM: On thinking about bringing in Hellberg earlier, Alain Vigneault said on MSG, "yes and no. I know Hank wants to work his way through this, fight his way through this and I made the decision after the second. Maybe I could have taken him out earlier, I don't know, but Hank wants to work his way out of this and we are going to work with him and everyone will try and get better here."

9:12PM: Magnus Hellberg started the third period for the Rangers in relief of Henrik Lundqvist.

Lundqvist allowed 7 goals on 27 shots in two periods of work.

Larry Brooks tweeted, "Over last his 7 periods, Lundqvist has allowed 16 goals on 76 shots in 138:18."

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist, Magnus Hellberg
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 (Gene J. Puskar)
(Gene J. Puskar)

With the Islanders firing of Jack Capuano today, Alain Vigneault became the longest tenured coach in the Metropolitan Division.

Capuano was named interim head coach of the Islanders on 11/15/10 and became the full-time coach on 4/12/11.

Vigneault was hired by the Rangers on June 21, 2013 and as coach of the Rangers has a record of 172-95-23 in the regular season and 25-24 in the playoffs.

The rest of the Metro coaches:

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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Alain Vigneault met with the media following the Rangers morning skate today and said (NYR)

  • On the roster, "there is always the question of the money. Whomever we would call up is playing in Hartford and if we need them it's not a big deal. Quick call and car service and they are here. Not that big of a deal."
  • On Mika's return, "That is a serious injury, Mika is a good skater and that was a broken leg. All I can say is that I have been watching him real close for the past 3 weeks. We had him do the on ice testing that we do prior to the season, we had him do it last week and his results as far as skating wise were better than they were in training camp. He has utilized the time here real well, you need to give him a lot of credit and are conditioning staff a lot of credit. At the end of the day all that work in the gym and skating on your own, he has had 1 practice on D, 1 at forward. I'm not quite sure. I know I mentioned yesterday that we will have to be patient with him, with Pavel, even with Nasher to some extent. Those were longer injuries than normal and you need to help the player and work with him. Right away we are putting him back on the PP, we will put Pavel there also. We will try and expose them and get them the quality minute and hopefully he can find the rhythm he had prior to his injury. He was on the upswing, he started off well, had a little dip and was then on the upswing at both ends of the rink. Puck battles, defensively, skating well, finding his linemates and I am hoping to see that real quick."
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New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

1:22PM: On Tuesday, Vigneault said of Zibanejad (NYR):

  • He re-did the skating tests they do in training camp and had better results than in training camp.
  • He has used his time rehabbing really well and deserves credit along with the Rangers conditioning staff

12:45PM: Alain Vigneault said on Monday that Mika Zibanejad will return to the Rangers lineup tonight against Dallas but that there will need to be patience with his game.

He said that Zibanejad will need to get his hands, lets and conditioning levels back up and hopes that he will pick up where he left off when he was injured.

Vigneault said that Zibanejad started the season hot, then saw his game dip and then he raised it again prior to his injury.

Tags: Mika Zibanejad
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 (Adam Hunger)
(Adam Hunger)

Henrik Lundqvist, who will start in net tonight, went on the ice at the morning skate this morning to get in some extra work. (Cyrgalis)

Mika Zibanejad is on the ice in advance of his return to the lineup tonight. (NYR)

Magnus Hellberg came onto the ice with Chris Kreider, Matt Puempel, Brandon Pirri and Oscar Lindberg. (Zipay)

Puempel is expected to join the Rangers in practice tomorrow.

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Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)
Dec 17, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Alain Vigneault said that he has had to deviate from his ideal plan of games for Henrik Lundqvist to give him a few more games with the hope that he will find his consistency.

Vigneault added, "Hank has played some real great hockey for this year in some games and some other games he hasn't been as consistent. That is the issue right now and the body of work he has had through his career tells us that he will find the answer and become the goalie that we know."

Vigneault compared it to how Lundqvist played in 2013-14, Vigneault's first season as coach, when Lundqvist "dialed in" during some games and in others he was "looking for a bit more."

On January 17, 2014 Lundqvist was 16-17-3, had allowed 90 goals on 1,044 shots and had a save percentage of .914 in 2089:13.

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist
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Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)
Dec 1, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal (18) against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports (Timothy T. Ludwig)

1/17/17 | 3:21PM: Alain Vigneault said that Staal had a scheduled day off but will skate on his own tomorrow. (NYR)

Vigneault said that Staal is continuing with the concussion protocol. (NYR)

1/16/17 | 4:22PM: Vigneault said today, "both Staal and Puempel skated this morning at 11. He skated the last 3 days. This would have been his fourth day. He is coming along and going through the protocol and so far it's been good. Same thing with Puemps. Unless something changes between now and Wednesday, I think Puemps will be skating with the team on Wednesday." (NYR)

Tags: Marc Staal, Matt Puempel
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Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Jan 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault behind the bench against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Rangers defeated the Flyers, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

Alain Vigneault met with the media following practice today and said (NYR):

  • On Raanta, "he is 7-10 days. He has had treatments and I would say that 7-10, possible he is available to the All-Star break but I would say that it's doubtful because of the position."
  • On Hank, "Simple answer would be yes....he has had the same number of games that he has had in the past, compared to my first year in the first 41 games he played 31 and this year he has played 30. It's the same number and more than I wanted to give him to tell you the truth, it's why my ideal plan through my goalie coach research about the number of games, we haven't been able to follow that to the letter because we have been trying to give him a couple of more games to get that consistency. Hank has played some real great hockey for this year in some games and some other games he hasn't been as consistent. That is the issue right now and the body of work he has had through his career tells us that he will find the answer and become the goalie that we know. This is a lot like my first year, where we are getting him to be real dialed in and playing real well and giving us the best chance to win and in another game he is looking for it a bit more. If history is anything then he will find his groove and be the great goaltender that he is."
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Sep 27, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (93) reacts after scoring a first period goal against the New York Islanders 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 center Mika Zibanejad (93) reacts after scoring a first period goal against the New York Islanders during a preseason hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

1/16/17 | 2:30PM: Zibanejad said that everyone was on the asme page about playing tomorrow and that it's been a "long time coming" towards his return. (NYR)

He said that it's hard to mimic a game in practice and that it will be good for him to get game action. (NYR)

1:38PM: Alain Vigneault announced today that Mika Zibanejad would return to the Rangers lineup tomorrow after being out since 11/20 with a broken leg.

Tags: Mika Zibanejad
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Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)
Nov 13, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (32) makes a save during warmup against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports (Perry Nelson)

1/16/17 | 4:24PM: Alain Vigneault said today, "he is 7-10 days. He has had treatments and I would say that 7-10, possible he is available to the All-Star break but I would say that it's doubtful because of the position." (NYR)

1:18PM: The Rangers have announced that Raanta will miss 7-10 days with a lower body injury.

1/14/17 | 8:17PM: Antti Raanta is out for the rest of the game after suffering a lower body injury in the first period.

Tags: Antti Raanta
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12:16PM: The Rangers PP units at practice are (Cyrgalis):

  • Clendening, Zibanejad, Buchnevich, Miller and Nash
  • McDonagh, Pirri, Stepan, Zuccarello, Kreider

12:05PM: Mika Zibanejad is centering Rick Nash and Pavel Buchnevich at Rangers practice today. (Cyrgalis)

Oscar Lindberg is the spare forward at practice. (Cyrgalis)

The Rangers other lines today are (NYR):

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
  • Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, JT Miller
  • Jimmy Vesey, Brandon Pirri, Jesper Fast
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