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GEICO SportsNite: NY Rangers 00:01:00
Kevin Klein, J.T. Miller and Rangers coach Alain Vigneault discuss the team's upcoming matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers.

What Alain Vigneault said after practice today
Jan 22, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on from behind the bench during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

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

  • On Klein, "I think I just heard that he declared himself good to go. (laugh) I haven't talked to him, I talked to him before practice. He said that he was feeling real good, probably better than before. Practice looked fine, haven't talked to him since, I just need to double check with our medical staff and make the call."
  • He said he could have played last night, "it's a funny thing, this Dr. Miyagi has a ton of resolve."
  • On the confidence after last night, "Like I said yesterday after the game, we were down 2 but playing like a team that were on their heels and looking for answers. I felt that we carried most of the play in the first period. Had some great offensive zone puck possession time, some good looks, stuck with our process and in the second we capitalized on a couple of opps and set the tone and wore them down and created some turnovers in the third and cashed in on a big win. Coming back in the league is not easy to do, especially against a team that is so sound defensively. They are on a tough stretch but still a really good team. We will take those two points and we are playing well and we need to bring that to Philly tomorrow. They will be focused and ready, division game, they just won a big game in Nashville. They will be pumped and ready."
  • On the PP, "both our PP and PK, this is result oriented and the results aren't what we want them to be. I can say that our guys are working extremely hard. Off ice there is a lot of video and a lot of internal discussions about trying to get on the same page. Our PP execution has to do more with the puck and on the PK it has more to do with 4 man presses. We need to win more one on one battles on the PK, if you win it the puck is down the ice and you are spending less time in your own end. That was one of our strong suits before, Marc Staal going into the corner and winning his one on one, McDonagh winning his one on one and right now we see to, bouncing puck or the last two that we had to kill yesterday we didn't give up anything and we looked good and hopefully we build off of that and take it to Philly tomorrow. They have a PP that has been working well for a while now."
  • On moving Dom off of Jesper Fast's PK, "had more to do with faceoffs, left hander, I will go with Dom on that side, right hander I will go more with Step. See how that shapes out."
  • On Nash, "Rick didn't feel that there was any sign of improvement on the bone bruise. Our guys felt that it was best to stay off of it, he will stay off it today, obviously tomorrow is a 1PM game so he won't skate, he will stay behind, come in for treatments and hopefully in the next 3-4 days we can get that pain to go away. Those bone bruises, it just takes time."
  • Could he skate here tomorrow if he wants, "if he feels good and wants to hit the ice tomorrow or Sunday, he will be in on both of those days for treatment and hopefully taking steps in the right direction there."
  • On JT Miller, "JT has been one of our top players at both ends of the rink, his competitiveness without the puck, he has been working hard to come back in our end. We are on the ice at 12 but we have 6-7 guys who are on the ice at 10:30 with our skills coach Mark and JT is always there. Guys figure it out and he is slowly but surely doing that."
  • On shooting percentage, "I would say that statistically speaking, we were almost 5-6% almost the league average, you won't sustain that but I do think that you can stay in the top ten, 5 on 5 we are. We are finding ways, whether it be through good screens, or crashing the net, we work on that continually, it's something that they work on with our skill coach, that is why it permits us, I think we are 5-6th in goals for."
  • On Dylan McIlrath, "this is never an easy situation, let alone a young player trying to come into the league. Last night he comes in, last night was one of his more average games compares to others that we had seen prior to that. That is due to the fact that he had been sitting out quite a while. His intentions are strong, works real hard in practice and if we need him tomorrow he will be ready."
  • On disparity between home and away this season, "it's a real good question, since I have been here we have always been one of the best road teams. Fundamentally the principles that I want to apply are the same on the road as at home. For whatever reason, and I would say that it's special teams or whatever, we have played some good road games where we came up short but we are also playing better there. Tomorrow is a big game, division, conference, we need to step up and have another good game. We played a real good game in jersey that I feel we should have won. Didn't win but tomorrow we get another opportunity."
  • On Megna being called up, "It had more to do with playing against a speed/skill team and I wanted four lines that had a bit more of that. When he is up he gives us a right handed shot that we don't have a lot of. He gives us that latitude and tomorrow going into Philly I feel that we need Glasser more than his presence."

Kevin Klein on the ice for the second straight day
New York Rangers' Ryan Kevin Klein plays against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

5:25PM: Klein's full comments today were (MSG):

  • "I am definitely ready to play. I feel that I could have played yesterday but they felt that maybe I should get in some battle drills to make sure that I am ready and I feel good."
  • How did you recover so quickly, "fortunate, I guess. I was having issues with it before and that kind of compounded it but it hasn't felt any worse than before so that is a positive thing."
  • Does it impact anything, "no, I can shoot it which is the main thing, that and battling I thought would put the most pressure on it. I played with it a couple of weeks before that, so yea, excited to be back and with the boys."
  • On how he felt going into the boards, " It was already painful before that, it was really painful and one of the more painful injuries I have ever had. It stings for 5-10 minutes and then it settles down and then we saw the doctor and I am happy it doesn't require surgery."
  • You didn't play in a splint before that, "no. The thing I am wearing now is not too big and won't impact me. Just to keep the thumb from going a different way."
  • Can it get worse, "can't get any worse, chance it can heal on it's own. That is why we are going with the splint on there and go from there."
  • "I kind of woke up and it felt the same as it did in previous days and thought that it wasn't so bad. I went to see the doctor, the hand specialist and he was good and gave me all the info and we talked it through. Then I found out that I was out indefinitely and started laughing and the doc was laughing too because he said that I could possibly play, it was just a pain tolerance thing. Miscommunication."
  • You will be playing through pain, "it's not too bad. Just go out there and battle, we are all used to it."

 

12:02PM: Kevin Klein is on the ice for the second straight day after being diagnosed with a fractured thumb on Wednesday. (NYR)

For more on Klein and what Alain Vigneault said, click HERE.

Tags: Kevin Klein

Updates on the Rick Nash situation
The Rangers should expect Rick Nash to eventually deliver, according to Alain Vigneault. (AP)

2/5/16 | 1:28PM: Rick Nash did not skate today and Alain Vigneault said that Nash is not traveling with the team to Philadelphia for tomorrows game. (Gross)

Nash did not skate yesterday, which was planned, but the hope was that he would skate today.

2/4/16 | 11:36AM: Nash worked out off the ice today and "hopefully tomorrow" he will be closer to joining the team for a skate. (NYR)

2/3/16 | 3:26PM: Alain Vigneault said today on Nash (MSG):

  • Did Nash skate on his own, "yes, he skated I wanna say 40 minutes prior to practice. He is improving every day, just not there yet."
  • On how Nash felt after yesterday, "he didn't react poorly to yesterday but I think he was hoping that it would be a little better than it was today. It did not stop him from skating and doing drills on his own with a couple of teammates before practice."
  • He isn't playing tomorrow, "no, no."

1:43PM: Rick Nash skated on his own for 40 minutes today before the Rangers took the ice for practice. (Gross)

Nash skated yesterday for the first time since suffering his bone bruise.

Alain Vigneault said that Nash is getting better every day but isn't ready yet. (NYR)

Tags: Rick Nash

Jayson Megna sent back to Hartford
(Kathy Willens)

The Rangers have sent forward Jayson Megna back to Hartford.

Megna was called up yesterday and played 9:12, was a minus one, had 2 shots on goal, 1 shot attempt that was blocked, 1 shot that missed the net and 1 hit.

He saw 6:23 at even strength and 2:49 on the PP.

Tags: Jayson Megna

How Dylan McIlrath played last night for the Rangers
Feb 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath (6) checks Minnesota Wild left wing Jason Zucker (16) into the boards during the third period at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Wild 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In his return to the Rangers lineup, Dylan McIlrath played 11:42, his third lowest ice time of the season, with one shot on goal, 1 shot that missed the net, 3 hits, 1 giveaway and 1 blocked shot.

In the first period McIlrath played 3:44, in the second he played 3:39 and in the third he played 4:19.

He played 9:56 at even strength and 1:46 on the PK including the Wild's second goal where he was in front of Henrik Lundqvist.

McIlrath did not have a shift in the first 5:46 of the third period.

When on the ice at 5 on 5, the Rangers had 66% of the shot attempts. (Hockey Stats)

Tags: Dylan McIlrath

The Rangers were feeling good about their game even down 2-0
Feb 4, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) celebrates his goal against the Minnesota Wild with teammates during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Rangers were down 2-0 in the first period last night but out-attempted the Wild 23-18 overall and 23-8 at 5 on 5. (Hockey Stats)

Alain Vigneault said that he didn't say anything "out of the ordinary" and just wanted the guys to keep doing what they were doing. He said that while the Rangers were down 2-0 they were leading in possession time and generating a lot of offensive opportunities. (Rangers Game Notes)

JT Miller told Al Trautwig after the second period that the Rangers felt they had a good first period and were confident in their game heading into the second. (MSG)

Derick Brassard said that the Rangers played well in the first but that Minnesota capitalized on the two chances that they had. He said that the Rangers were confident heading into the second period. (Rangers Game Notes) 

Henrik Lundqvist said that in the first period the Wild scored on a bad bounce and then on the PP but that the Rangers felt like they were playing well. He said that even down two goals the Rangers had a "good feeling" in the room that they could turn it around. (Rangers Game Notes) 

Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers spent a lot of time in the Minnesota end in the first but didn't get anything out of it. He added that it was "great for our guys to get rewarded there eventually." (Rangers Game Notes) 


Ryan McDonagh's potential offense should allow the Rangers to move Keith Yandle

Larry Brooks writes that Ryan McDonagh is the "greatest offensive weapon" the Rangers have had on defense since Brian Leetch and that his strong play is another reason for the team to move Keith Yandle.

Brooks writes that if Yandle's status as a UFA isn't enough of a reason to move him, the increase in production from McDonagh "adds another layer of protection against such a trade." (NY Post)

He says that Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has "no choice" but to replenish the organization with assets and "cannot afford to allow" Yandle to walk as a free agent. (NY Post)

Brooks says that moving Yandle would not indicate that the Rangers are sellers or that management has lost faith in the season. (NY Post)

Yandle has 3 goals and 24 assists this season, with 8 PP points, and McDonagh has 7 goals and 19 assists with 9 PP points.

Adam Rotter: It certainly helps the Rangers, in every possible way, that Ryan McDonagh is playing at an All-Star level again and showing how important he is. When he is going he is the Rangers best and most important skater.

When it comes to Yandle it depends on how you look at him. You can look at him as Keith Yandle, a former All-Star with the potential to be an elite offensive defenseman who can do things with the puck that no other Ranger defenseman can. Or you can look at him as the Rangers third-pair left defenseman. It certainly doesn't hurt to have Keith Yandle on your team, as long as he is making high percentage plays, but he isn't going to be back and can likely fetch a couple of pieces who might be able to help the Rangers down the line. The Rangers are a win-now team so it seems counter-intuitive to move Yandle, but if they think that someone else can play his minutes and Ryan McDonagh/Dan Boyle can work the PP, it might be worth it to move him.

Tags: Keith Yandle , Keith Yandle Rumors , Ryan McDonagh

What Alain Vigneault said after the game last night

Alain Vigneault met with reporters following the Rangers win over Minnesota (MSG & Rangers Game Notes):

  • On JT, "I see a young man that is definitely growing and understanding more every day what it is to be a pro and how to be the best player that he can be. He has spent a lot of time with his off-ice conditioning, works hard in practice and is getting an opportunity and playing real well for us."
  • "Nothing out of the ordinary, just stick with what we were doing. We were playing well. We are down by two but if you look at our possession time and the number of opportunities we were generating at their net and playing in their zone, maybe we could have hit the net more in the first but we were doing what we needed to do to create offense. It started to pay off in the second and there is no doubt that we took the game over, Brass' line played real well. McDonagh had a real strong game. We were doing the right things that permit us to win the game and that is what happened."
  • On the game, "If you look at the way the game was played, it was a hard fought battle from both teams. In the third we forced their defense to turn the puck over and that's how we got the go-ahead [goal]. After that for both teams there wasn't a lot of room. It's competitive. Every team is good, every game is hard, and this was another hard fought game."
  • On Jesper Fast, "I have so much faith and confidence when he is on the ice. I know that defensively he is going to be in the right position and I know that with the puck he is going to make the right play. We see this young player here growing and getting better every game. I really have a lot of confidence when he is on the ice."

Ryan McDonagh said after the game on MSG:

  • "we had great help from our forwards allowing us to keep our gap and not allowing them to create plays on the rush. I liked our defensive zone plays as far as being aggressive and blocking a lot of shots today. That is a good sign and doing the things that we need to do to be a good defensive team. It's nothing really special, just going out and executing the things we do all the time."
  • "We thought we had some good O zone time in the first. We got stuck with a two goal lead, but we had some good O zone time and trying to create chances and put some pucks towards the net and allow us to keep our forechecking game and kind of keep them on their heels and not allow them in our zone as much. Good effort both ways as far as forechecking and backchecking helped us."
Tags: Ryan McDonagh

GEICO SportsNite: NY Rangers 00:00:33
Rangers forward Derick Brassard and goalie Henrik Lundqvist speak on the team's 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Box score

NEW YORK -- Derick Brassard set up the tying goal and scored the game-winner early in the third period as the New York Rangers rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the struggling Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Thursday night.

Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and streaking J.T. Miller each had a goal and an assist as New York stretched its winning streak at Madison Square Garden to four games. Henrik Lundqvist made 16 saves, including two third-period stops on Marco Scandella after the Rangers took the lead.Chris Kreider added an empty-net goal with 1:48 to play

Ryan Carter and Matt Dumba scored for the Wild, who lost their second straight after the All-Star break and fell to 1-8-1 in their last 10.

Read more. . . .

Adam's Thoughts:

  • That wasn't the start the Rangers were looking for but they battled hard in the second and took advantage of a Minnesota team that comes out strong but struggles to sustain it. They dominated the last two periods like this team is supposed to.
  • There really isn't much more to say about JT Miller. He and Derick Brassard are leading the Rangers up front. Miller, unlike Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, has taken that next step in his development that the Rangers needed.
  • Ryan McDonagh was excellent and helped kick off the Rangers strong play in the second with his goal.
  • As has been the case many times this season, the Rangers will now attempt to string a few wins together. They haven't been very successful at doing it this year but they get another chance on Saturday against Philly, and then the Devils, and hopefully they can pick up much needed points.

Rangers aim to get back on track as they host Minnesota
(Ed Mulholland)

The New York Rangers picked up right where they left off at the All-Star break - with inconsistent results.

They might be catching struggling Minnesota at the right time as they look to get back on track, though their first meeting of the season with the Wild didn't go well at all.

New York faces a Minnesota team that's lost eight of nine and continues a road-heavy stretch at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

The Rangers (27-18-5) won two in a row for the first time since late November on Jan. 19 and 22 but have lost two of the ensuing three contests, falling 3-2 at New Jersey on Tuesday in their first game after the break. Surging J.T. Miller scored twice but the Devils followed his second goal in the third period with two of their own. >> Read more

Tags: J.T. Miller

Looking at what the Rangers could do at the trade deadline

Scott Burnside writes that the assumption is that the Rangers will shop Keith Yandle after giving up a "king's ransom" for him last year at the trade deadline. (ESPN.com)

Burnside said that Yandle hasn't been a good fit and won't be a fit with the Rangers in terms of the salary cap after this season when he can become a UFA. (ESPN.com)

He also thinks that some help up front could be of use to the Rangers and mentions Eric Staal, though he does note it would be hard to see the Rangers go after a rental player at this stage. (ESPN.com)

Craig Custance has Yandle ranked 10th on his list of trade targets and says that if Jeff Gorton can recoup some pieces for Yandle, he should do it. (ESPN)

Custance says that Yandle would be a great addition to the Blackhawks because of his low cap hit. (ESPN)

Adam Rotter: At the past two trade deadlines the Rangers have made big moves and given up a lot but acquired players who had another year left on their deal. Marty St. Louis and Keith Yandle both had an extra year on their deals, which is also part of the reason they were as expensive as they were. In the case of Staal, who likely doesn't want to move from Carolina and is a UFA, the Canes would need to eat a significant, if not 50%, chunk of his cap to to even come close to making it work.

Both because of the salary cap and because there is a desperate need to hold onto picks and prospects, I don't see the Rangers making a big time move at the deadline for the third year in a row. I can see them trading Yandle and maybe adding some depth, but I'd be surprised, and the Rangers would need to be creative, if they wanted to bring in a big name.

Tags: Keith Yandle Rumors , Rangers Rumors

What Alain Vigneault said after the morning skate today

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

  • On Klein, "what we said yesterday was what we thought. We didn't know how long it would be. He obviously responded very well to meeting the docs and the splint. He is not obviously playing tonight here but he responded well to the doctors news. The splint feels a little bit better and he was able to handle the puck."
  • It's definitely fractured?, "yes."
  • Does that revise the timetable, "well I said indefinite yesterday and indefinite could mean a day or two or a long time. He will go see Dr. Miyagi this afternoon and get a little bit of this (rubs hands together/laughs) and who knows? He might play tonight (laugh), no he isn't playing tonight."
  • "Clearly a lot better than what everyone anticipated when he went to the doctors yesterday."
  • Why did you sit upstairs to watch today, "today wasn't a normal morning skate, I just wanted the PP to move the puck around and warm up Hank with the other shooters at the other end. I was fine with what the guys were doing."
  • On sitting with Glen Sather and Jeff Gorton, "just happened that way. I wasn't going on the ice and they were up in the stands and they are my bosses so I figured I would go sit with them (laugh) that is all it was. I could have sat by myself but they were there."
  • On Dylan McIlrath shooting more, "it is something that we have been stressing more with our defense, to improve our offensive part of the game. As everyone knows everyone packs the front of the net and it's hard to get shots through and our whole D group, trying to get them to release it quicker before the other team fronts it and blocks it. Dylan, to his credit, does a real good job of getting it away quickly and it's a heavy shot too so anytime that he can do that we want him to."
  • On Glass being scratched, "we just felt that we are playing a team tonight that has a lot of speed and Megna brings us speed and skill and we thought it was a better fit."
  • On Rick Nash, "he did not skate which was planned, he was going to skate for three days which he did. Today he did off ice and hopefully tomorrow he will be close to skating with the team."
  • More on McIlrath's shot, "I think, we have been trying to work it with all of our defense, it might be showing up more with him. You need to give a lot of credit to the Hartford coaches who have coached him for three years. They have helped his skill level, not just his skating but his puck handling, shot and with us, the more he plays the more experience and the better he gets."
  • On giving up quick goals after scoring, "In that third period, we out-chanced them badly and when we made it 2-1 it was a great play. Unfortunately their second goal, we got caught in a change and Danny pushed the guy as far out as he could since he couldn't gap up, they beat Hank on a short side, a goal that you would ask him at any time in the day that he would like to have back, made it 2-2, made it 3-2 on their PP. I thought that we pushed, had some great looks, on some nights things like that happen but I really liked how we played. We need to improve our special teams but we really played well 5 on 5."
  • On Klein today, "I would expect that from all of our players at this time. If you are a player at this time and you know the importance of the game, you wanna play. Hockey players play through a lot and that is the nature of the sport and the players."
  • Megna on the fourth line and the rest of the lines the same, "yes."
  • On why a full morning skate today, "7 days off, just for us to touch the ice a little more. We have an afternoon game on Saturday. Just to feel it and get our specialty teams going a little better."

Kevin Klein and his fractured thumb are on the ice this morning

2:41PM: Alain Vigneault said today (NYR)

  • On Klein, "what we said yesterday was what we thought. We didn't know how long it would be. He obviously responded very well to meeting the docs and the splint. He is not obviously playing tonight here but he responded well to the doctors news. The splint feels a little bit better and he was able to handle the puck."
  • It's definitely fractured?, "yes."
  • Does that revise the timetable, "well I said indefinite yesterday and indefinite could mean a day or two or a long time. He will go see Dr. Miyagi this afternoon and get a little bit of this (rubs hands together/laughs) and who knows? He might play tonight (laugh), no he isn't playing tonight."
  • "Clearly a lot better than what everyone anticipated when he went to the doctors yesterday."

10:28AM: Kevin Klein is skating this morning after the Rangers said yesterday that he was out indefinitely with a fractured thumb. (Gross)

He is stickhandling with both hands on his stick and skating in a regular defensemen's jersey. (Gross)

Klein was injured on Tuesday against the Devils and left the ice in obvious pain.

Alain Vigneault said yesterday that they weren't yet sure of a timetable for Klein's return.

Tags: Kevin Klein

Tanner Glass scratched tonight against the Wild

Tanner Glass will be scratched tonight for the Rangers when they play Minnesota. (NYR)

Jayson Megna will replace Glass in the lineup.

Glass has played in 25 straight games since being recalled in early December. In that stretch he has 1 goal, 1 assist, 23 PIM, 3 fights and an average of 10:11 per game.

When Glass has been on the ice during that 25 game stretch, the Rangers have 44% of the shot attempts, 7 goals for, 15 against and has 99 hits. (War on Ice)


The Rangers lines for tonight's game against the Wild will be (Gross):

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
  • JT Miller, Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast
  • Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, Viktor Stalberg
  • Jayson Megna, Dominic Moore, Daniel Paille

Dylan McIlrath will skate with Keith Yandle. (Gross)

Tags: Tanner Glass

Dylan McIlrath is ready to step into the Rangers lineup again

Alain Vigneault said that there is "no doubt" that McIlrath's experience will help him and that when McIlrath has come in he has "played well." (MSG)

He added. "he will get a chance again and hopefully he will do a good job." (MSG)

McIlrath said that he knows he can play in the NHL now and that when he stepped into the lineup in December it was a "feeling out process" to see if he could handle playing in the NHL. (MSG)

He said that already playing 20 games this season is more than he thought he would play heading into the season and that he is looking forward to this opportunity. (MSG)

Ryan McDonagh said on Wednesday, "Dylan is playing great every time he comes in. We know about his toughness and physicality but he is gaining confidence with the puck too."

Tags: Dylan McIlrath

What Alain Vigneault has liked from the Rangers and why he has confidence
New York Rangers forward J. T. Miller is congratulated by teammates defensemen Marc Staal defensemen Kevin Klein and forward Derek Stepan after his second period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USATSI)

Following the Rangers loss to the Devils on Tuesday, Alain Vigneault said that he really liked how the Rangers competed and played at 5 on 5. (MSG)

He added that in the first two periods the Rangers didn't allow the Devils a scoring chance and that, besides the Rangers special teams, they are doing a lot of good things. (MSG)

On Wednesday,, Vigneault said that the Rangers played one of their best games of the season 5 on 5 against the Devils.

When talking about the Rangers and the situation they are in, Vigneault said "this team has shown a multitude of times that they play their best hockey under pressure. I like the fact that we have a great challenge in front of us. We are in a good position, a lot of people say that we should be in a better position, we have 32 games left. Really 3 segments of 10 games and two other games, we will go one game at a time. Our game is improving, our game against the Devils was real good. I look at JT and Brass, Fast, we have some guys who have their games on the upswing. I feel pretty good about where our group is. We have a tough opponent coming in tomorrow so lets get at it."


JT Miller is the Rangers best forward right now
Jan 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) celebrates after scoring the winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Canucks 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

JT Miller has goals in five of his last seven games and seven goals total in that stretch. (Rangers Game Notes) 

Miller has 15 points (11 goals and 4 assists) in the past 20 games. (Rangers Game Notes) 

He said that he is just trying to play consistent hockey right now. (NY Post)

Alain Vigneault said on Wednesday that Miller's game is really on the upswing.

Joe Micheletti said that in every game "it seems like he is their best forward" and has been doing everything for the Rangers.

Dave Maloney said that there is no question that Miller has been the Rangers best player in the last little while.

Adam Rotter: Miller is far and away the Rangers best player the last few weeks. It's not even all the goals, which are great, it's the way he is making an impact on the game. He is getting shots, playing physical, creating offense and putting himself in the right position on the ice to score. He is setting new career highs for himself every game and should easily cross the 20 goal mark with an eye towards 25.

Tags: J.T. Miller

Rangers Blue Line: Having a "Devil" of a time

On this week's Rangers Blue Line, Brian Compton, Nick Licalzi, and Adam Rotter discuss the Blueshirts' loss to New Jersey and the thumb injury to Kevin Klein. Plus, Brian chats with Pat Leonard of the Daily News about the team's continued struggles on the ice.


Jayson Megna called up by the Rangers

The Rangers have announced that Jayson Megna has been recalled from Hartford.

Since being sent back to Hartford a few weeks ago, Megna played in four games, had two goals, 1 assist, 11 shots on goal and a plus one rating.

For more on Megna, click HERE.

With Rick Nash injured the Rangers only had 12 healthy forwards.

Tags: Jayson Megna

Alain Vigneault said today that the Rangers aren't planning on calling up a seventh defenseman right now with Kevin Klein hurt. (MSG)

He said that with the Rangers schedule allowing them to stay close to home for the next few games (Minnesota at MSG tomorrow, @Philly on Saturday and against the Devils at MSG Monday) the Rangers will go with the six healthy D that they have. (MSG)

Vigneault noted that the Wolf Pack are just returning from their All-Star break as well and want those players to skate for a couple of days. (MSG)

In the event the Rangers do call up a defenseman it is likely to be Raphael Diaz or Chris Summers. By not calling up a player right now the Rangers are "banking" that extra salary cap space to create more room at the trade deadline.


What Alain Vigneault said after practice today
Jan 22, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on from behind the bench during the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The New York Rangers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports (James Guillory)

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

  • "There is no doubt that the experience he has gotten so far is definitely going to help. On Kleiner, we just aren't sure. He has a broken thumb and it's indefinite right now and we don't know how long that indefinite is going to be. We can't give you a timetable yet. When we have asked Dylan to come in and play some minutes he has come in and played well. He will get a chance again and hopefully he will do a good job."
  • Did Nash skate on his own, "yes, he skated I wanna say 40 minutes prior to practice. He is improving every day, just not there yet."
  • On how Nash felt after yesterday, "he didn't react poorly to yesterday but I think he was hoping that it would be a little better than it was today. It did not stop him from skating and doing drills on his own with a couple of teammates before practice."
  • He isn't playing tomorrow, "no, no."
  • On calling up a spare defenseman, "at this point, no. We are here and then in Philly, real close the next couple of days. Hartford is just getting back and we will let their guys skate a couple of days. I will say at this time that on D we have six healthy D and we are going to stay that way for now."
  • On monitoring Dan Boyle or Girardi with Klein being out, "it adds to the complexity of the situation. Dan looked a little fatigued the last few games but I am hoping that the break helped him out that way. It is something, once we have a clearer picture on Kleiner, that might take a few days, once we have a clearer picture on that we will go day by day and game by game and figure it out."
  • He just fell awkwardly into the boards, "yes, it wasn't a slash. Originally it was just on the side and all we heard was him screaming a little bit because of the pain. We thought that something may have happened but the ref said that he just fell awkwardly and there was no slash or no nothing."
  • On working on special teams, "if you look at our overall game last night, 5 on 5 we had one of our better games of the year. Our last PP was effective but the first couple were not. Our PK, we had two attempts to get it done, they scored on both. We know we need to be better, we have been talking about it for a while, we got some practice time in. We will concentrate a lot of our video on that tomorrow. We are very aware that we need to do a better job and try to improve."
  • On Tanner Glass getting PP time in practice, "no, it was more, we wanted certain guys, we focused more on the PK this morning than the PP, so with that in mind we only had a certain amount of forwards we could use and he was one of them."
  • On McIlrath coming in, "anytime a player comes in he wants to contribute and do well. Every team in the league, in my estimation, should be excited about being in the playoff push. This team has shown a multitude of times that they play their best hockey under pressure. I like the fact that we have a great challenge in front of us. We are in a good position, a lot of people say that we should be in a better position, we have 32 games left. Really 3 segments of 10 games and two other games, we will go one game at a time. Our game is improving, our game against the Devils was real good. I look at JT and Brass, Fast, we have some guys who have their games on the upswing. I feel pretty good about where our group is. We have a tough opponent coming in tomorrow so lets get at it."
  • On the strategy with the PK, "it's a combo of having more four guys working together. If one guy is doing one thing and the other three guys are looking to see where they need to be reacting, they aren't working as a unit. PK, to be effective, whether it's in zone, it's one unit of four guys rolling together and taking those options away which we haven't been doing well enough. We have done it in the past and I am confident that this group, even though we have a couple of new guys with Oscar and Paille has done it all his life and Viktor may be new to it, Dylan may be new to it but the other three guys have been doing it all their lives and have been some of the best in the league. With our goaltending we should be in good shape."
  • On the PK last night, "we just left one player all alone in front of the net and gave him a clear look at an open net. The other one, we have two guys who are there that should be able to take that seam, Dom and Mac, two of our most effective penalty killers, but they both fanned on it and it ended up in the back of our net."

Kevin Klein has a fractured thumb and will be out indefinitely
New York Rangers' Ryan Kevin Klein plays against the Columbus Blue Jackets during an NHL hockey game Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) (Jay LaPrete/AP)

2/3/16: 12:04PM: Kevin Klein has a fractured thumb and will be out indefinitely. (NYR)

Klein missed time earlier this season with a strained oblique.

Klein was dealing with a hand issue during January that caused him to miss a game.

Adam Rotter: Well this isn't good news for the Rangers as Klein had been steady, if not good, for the whole season. Now, as most people want, Dylan McIlrath will come back into the lineup. McIlrath will return to playing with Keith Yandle on the Rangers third pair, where he has been good, but will need to step up to replace Klein at this stage of the season.

2/2/16: With just over 3 minutes left in the third period Kevin Klein went into the boards and hit the ice after a hit from the Devils Reid Boucher.

Klein went to the ice in obvious pain and immediately threw off one of his gloves.

As he got up from the ice he went immediately down to one knee while holding his arm before getting up and going directly to the Rangers locker room with trainer Jim Ramsay.

The Rangers did not have an immediate update on the status o Klein after the game. (Gross)

Tags: Kevin Klein

What happened on the Devils tying goal in the third
Feb 2, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils forward Joseph Blandisi (64) scores a goal on New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) during the third period at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

Last night against the Devils Henrik Lundqvist stopped 22 of 25 shots and allowed two power play goals.

The lone even strength goal that Lundqvist allowed tied the game in the third period shortly after JT Miller put the Rangers up 2-1.

On the goal, Lundqvist said "I should have taken one more step on him, maybe I wasn't patient enough as well. I want that one back and to be more aggressive. Standing there for a while and no shots, maybe you get a little, I don't know if I lost focus there, I don't know. Other than that I felt like I was playing a pretty solid game. (MSG)

Alain Vigneault said that the Rangers were caught in a change and couldn't close the gap but still forced Joe Blandisi to an angle where they felt comfortable. (MSG)

He added that the shot just beat Lundqvist and "those are things that happen sometimes." (MSG)


What the Rangers are saying about their penalty kill
Feb 2, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Lee Stempniak (20) and New Jersey Devils forward Joseph Blandisi (64) celebrate Blandisi's goal during the third period at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports (Ed Mulholland)

When the Devils took the lead on the power play last night, their second PP goal of the game, Sam Rosen said "the Rangers penalty killing continues to let them down."

Alain Vigneault said "our PK wasn't able to get the job done" and added that the players on the ice just aren't executing right now. (MSG)

Ryan McDonagh said that the Rangers are doing a lot to prepare for the PK but that they need everyone to execute better. (MSG)

He added, "it's costing us too many games. We just need to be a lot better on special teams, that is what it comes down to.It's tough to put into words right now. It's been a strong suit for us and we need the guys in here to do it and execute." (MSG)

Henrik Lundqvist said that he is a big part of the PK and that it's disappointing when he can't come up with an extra save. He added, "we just have to sit down and talk and try to improve it." (MSG)

Derek Stepan said that the Rangers are thinking a lot on the PK and not moving together as a group. (MSG)

He added, "I think that there is a thought where we hesitate for just a second and it ends up in our net. We have them two looks and they buried them." (MSG)

The Rangers are 25th in the NHL in penalty killing. They are 30th in PK on the road, only killing off 70% of penalties.


What Alain Vigneault said after the game

Alain Vigneault spoke with reporters following the Rangers loss to the Devils (MSG):

  • On special teams, "I mean, you know, this was a hard fought game by both teams. I really liked the way that we competed and played 5 on 5. Our PK wasn't able to get the job done and our PP, other than the last one wasn't very good. There were some positives out of this game and we will get back at practice tomorrow and get ready for Minnesota."
  • Is the team uptight on the PK, "no, we just aren't executing right now. We got a little unlucky on their go ahead goal. Brass blocks the shot, breaks his stick so we get caught without a stick for a fraction of a second and they are able to make us pay on a seam pass where we are usually pretty good on those but right now we aren't picking them up."
  • On Kevin Klein, "no, I haven't checked.
  • On the PP, "we did in the third and the PP did get some good looks. Their goalie had a real strong game and he was one of the better players on the ice."
  • "it was a hard fought game by both teams. Everyone is trying to get points and that is what we are trying to do and what they are trying to do."
  • "first period and second period we didn't give them a chance 5 on 5. They got their goal but 5 on 5 they didn't have a scoring chance. We are doing a lot of good things right now but we obviously need to get our special teams going and that is my responsibility."
  • On the tying goal in the third, "we got caught in a neutral zone change where our guys couldn't gap up. Thought that we gave them the right angle for the shot, it just beat Hank and those are things that happen sometimes."

GEICO SportsNite: Rangers' loss 00:00:34
After Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh react to the Rangers' defeat.

Miller scores twice but Rangers fall to Devils, 3-2
(Ed Mulholland)

David Schlemko scored on a power play with 8:46 left and the New Jersey Devils rallied twice to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Lee Stempniak and Joseph Blandisi also scored, Cory Schneider made 31 saves and the surprising Devils beat the Rangers for the second straight time this season. It was their fifth win in six games and moved them within two points of New York for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

J.T. Miller scored twice for New York, which came within a goalpost of tying it on a shot by Ryan McDonaghHenrik Lundqvist made 22 saves.

The game was decided by special teams. The Devils were 2 for 2 with the extra skater and they killed off all four Rangers power plays. >> Read more

Adam's Thoughts:

  • Tonight was the same story as most of the Rangers losses lately. 5 on 5 they were the better team but their PP was couldn't score and their PK couldn't stop the Devils. Special teams are killing the Rangers right now.
  • JT Miller is red hot though for the Rangers and continues to look like the answer to the question of who will fill the last spot in the Rangers top six.
  • It's a bad loss and another frustrating game for the Rangers where it feels like they let easy points get away. They had the lead in the third, and while it was only one goal, they needed that extra save from Henrik Lundqvist and they needed to close out the game. They didn't and they let the race get even tighter.
  • I did not think there was enough to overturn the Stempniak goal. I thought that the refs made the right call on the ice but that Alain Vigneault did as well in challenging it. The Rangers rarely use their timeouts as it is so why not try and see if the goal could be overturned.
Tags: Henrik Lundqvist , J.T. Miller , Ryan McDonagh

Tonight's Game: Rangers at Devils
(Kim Klement)

The Rangers return from the All-Star break to face the Devils at the Prudential Center at 7 p.m.

According to STATS...

  • The Rangers have won each of their last four road games versus the Devils, tied for their longest road win streak versus New Jersey all-time (also from March 7, 1975 -- October 8, 1976 and from March 22, 1984 -- January 18, 1985).
  • The Devils enter the second half with 112 goals scored on the season, fourth fewest in the NHL. New Jersey has been outscored, 114-112, on the season (not including shootout goals); the Devils have not made the postseason with a negative goal differential on the season since making the playoffs in 1987-88 despite being outscored, 296-295.
  • The Rangers went 6-2-1 on the road through November 21, but are just 3-10-2 on the road since, being outscored by 18 (53-35) over the 15 games. New York went 28-11-2 (.707) on the road last season but is just 9-12-3 (.438) in road games this season -- the largest decline in road win percentage by any team from last season to this one.
  • Mats Zuccarello has scored 18 goals in 49 games played this season, one shy of his career-high (had 19 in 77 games played in 2013-14). However, Zuccarello scored just two goals in January (his fewest in any month this season), and has not scored a goal on the road since December 30 at Tampa Bay.
  • Derick Brassard had two goals and three assists versus Buffalo on January 25, his last game played before the All-Star break. Brassard's five-point game was the first five-point regular-season game by a New York Ranger since Ryan Callahan had five points versus the Flyers on March 6, 2011.
  • Kyle Palmieri has recorded seven power-play goals in 50 games played this season after totaling seven power-play goals through his first five career NHL seasons (in 198 games played). Palmieri's 20 goals, overall, and 35 points this season are each single-season career-highs, and his 15 assists are two shy of his career-high (17 in 2013-14).
Tags: Derick Brassard

What Alain Vigneault said after the morning skate today

Alain Vigneault met with the media following the Rangers morning skate in New Jersey (NYR):

  • On Rick Nash, "Skating, he has been getting treatment the last couple of days I would say in more regular intervals and I would say that he is coming along. It's still day to day and we will see how he reacts tomorrow and take it from there."
  • His first day on the ice, "yes, yesterday, like I mentioned, he had another CT scan and everything is fine, it's just the pain now."
  • On getting into a rivalry game, "this is a very important game for both teams. Both teams want to get off to a good start. Our games against the Devils have always been very competitive and hard fought. They are playing well and within some solid structure and this will be a good test for us."
  • Do you have hope Nash could play later this week, "Yea, I'm thinking that day to day means day to day. I am hoping I'm not lying there. We will see how he reacts from today tomorrow and then I will probably have a better idea moving forward."
  • On Oscar Lindberg, "he got off to a real good start and gave us big goals, lately goal-wise it has been more challenging but I think he is going through the process like any normal young player that learns to play in this league at this level. The intensity of the games, the demands of being a pro and Oscar is coming along real well. He has a lot of upside and it's our job with him to develop him and get him to be the best player that he can be."
  • On scoring struggles, "him and he has a good rapport with his teammates. He is not the biggest talker but he watches a lot of video and I am confident that the points he got for us early on will be coming back here shortly."
  • On Dan Boyle, "he looked a little tired prior to the All-Star break and that is definitely a sign to maybe monitor him a little better than we did in the first half. That is what we are going to do. He looked fresh yesterday and had a good practice and is playing today and we will go from there."
  • On McDonagh/Girardi vs McDonagh/Klein, "it has to do with how they are playing and the opposition. I think that Mac has found his game at both ends and both Dan and Kleiner have had some moments where we believe they could be better. It depends on the opponent and then we decide what we have to do."

The latest on Rick Nash (Updates)
New York Rangers left wing Rick Nash (61) fires a shot on goal(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek) (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

2:05PM: Nash said that any time he puts pressure on his leg he limps and that since he is having trouble walking "you're obviously going to feel it when you're skating." (North Jersey)

Nash said that he was given a concussion test after crashing into the boards but said that he fell back to the ice after trying to put weight on his leg. (North Jersey)

He said that he is hoping to practice on Wednesday but isn't sure when he will be able to return to the Rangers lineup. He said that it's a situation where he needs to manage the pain. (North Jersey)

1:49PM: Alain Vigneault said that Nash is still "day to day" and getting treatments. (NYR

He said that how Nash reacts to skating today will help determine his timetable. (NYR)

12:01PM: Rick Nash is on the ice this morning at the Rangers morning skate. (NYR)

Nash was "skating gingerly" (Gross) and took a lap around the ice before checking in with Rangers trainer Jim Ramsay. (Gross)

Nash then skated on his own at center ice. (Gross)

He did not take any shots while on the ice, just stickhandling. (Zipay)

Fore more on Nash, click HERE.

Tags: Rick Nash

The Rangers don't plan on putting in a waiver claim for Brandon Prust
Brandon Prust puts a vicious hit on Ottawa's Erik Karlsson sending him airborne. (AP)

Earlier today the Vancouver Canucks placed former Ranger Brandon Prust on waivers. (McKenzie)

Prust is in the final-year of the four-year deal he signed with Montreal, cap hit of $2.5 million, after leaving the Rangers after the 2012 season.

Larry Brooks tweets that the Rangers have "no intention" of putting in a claim for Prust. (Brooks)

Adam Rotter: To some degree the Rangers have been trying to replace Brandon Prust since he left for Montreal. Brandon Prust though isn't the same player he was for John Tortorella and the Rangers. He was a fan favorite, worked his butt off and helped forge the indentity of those Ranger teams, but with Tanner Glass as a cheaper option and someone Alain Vigneault is comfortable with, there is no room for Prust.

Tags: Brandon Prust

2/2/16: 11:40AM: The lines the Rangers are using as the same as yesterday.

The defense pairs are Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi, Marc Staal and Dan Boyle, Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein.

Dylan McIlrath is expected to be screatched. (Gross)

2/1/16: At practice earlier today, the Rangers had the following lines (NYR):

  • Chris Kreider, Derek Stepan, Mats Zuccarello
  • JT Miller, Derick Brassard, Jesper Fast
  • Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, Viktor Stalberg
  • Daniel Paille, Dominic Moore, Tanner Glass.

Ryan McDonagh was excused from skating today as he returned from the All-Star game in Nashville. (Gross)


Henrik Lundqvist on staying in the moment and being confident
Jan 11, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) reacts to scoring the game-winning goal past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

On Monday, Henrik Lundqvist said that it's important for the Rangers to "remain in the moment" and that this group has the chance "to do something special if we push ourselves to get it done." (NYR)

Marc Staal said that the Rangers are confident in themselves and that no matter what spot they are in "it's about playing the best hockey at the right time." (Ranger Rants)

The Rangers have a 89.4% chance of making the playoffs according to Sports Club Stats.

On this date last season, the Rangers were in third place in the Metro, three points behind the Islanders, and had a record of 29-15-4.

The Rangers are 27-17-5 and in second place in the Metro right now but 15 points back of the first place caps.

The Rangers finished last season with a record of 53-22-7.


The Rangers are ready to get back to playing
Jan 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller (30) reacts after giving up a goal to New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) during the second period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Derek Stepan said on Monday that many of the Rangers were on the ice early yesterday and are "champing" at the bit to get back to playing games. (NYR)

Stepan said that the Rangers know they are in a playoff push right now and they need to be ready "to push" starting tonight against the Devils. (NYR)

Marc Staal said that it's going to be a "really tight" race and "not going to be easy." He added "we're looking forward to a good stretch and run to the playoffs." (NYR)

Adam Rotter: This is it for the Rangers. This is the time where they could "turn it on" and create a big distance between themselves and either third place in the Metro or the playoff race all together. This is a group that historically plays well when pushed or challenged in the second half of the season. With Henrik Lundqvist in net nearly anything is possible for the Rangers, so if he is good, they get some scoring and get Rick Nash back, I don't see why the Rangers won't make people forget about the first half of the year.


Derek Stepan is feeling 100 percent about his game
Dec 28, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Rangers center Derek Stepan (21) skates away from Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro (63) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Derek Stepan said that while he was medically cleared to return when he did, he wasn't "quite there" mentally or "game-condition-wise." (NY Post)

He said that he was protecting his ribs and didn't start to feel better until the Rangers game on 1/11 against Boston. (NY Post)

Stepan had 2 goals and 1 assist in his first 9 games and in his last 7 games he has 1 goal and 5 assists.

Larry Brooks writes that Stepan has been more decisive and moving the puck quicker lately. (NY Post)

Stepan said that when he is feeling 100% the game slows down for him. He added that he needs to produce on the PP and that the last few games "have been my best on the power play all year long." (NY Post)

He said that his offensive production is coming, "definitely." (NY Post)

Stepan has been better on faceoffs since returning from his broken ribs.

Tags: Derek Stepan

Rick Nash is still in pain and having trouble walking
(Brad Penner)

3:36PM: Vigneault said that it's a "bad bone bruise" for Nash and it's taking longer to heal than anticipated. (NYR)

Vigneault said that Nash was still feeling some pain and having trouble walking. (Brooks)

Nash has not been been on the ice since suffering the bone bruise. (NYR)

2:07PM: Rangers LW Rick Nash wasn't practicing on Monday as the team reconvened for the first time since the All-Star break, according to Andrew Gross (Feb. 1).

Aside from Nash and D Ryan McDonagh -- who was on his way back from the All-Star Game -- all other Rangers were at practice.

Head coach Alain Vigneault said after practice that Nash had an additional CT scan on Monday that revealed only a bone bruise, which Vigneault said was taking a while to heal.

Nash missed the final two games before the break due to a left leg injury.

Nash has notched 12 goals and 21 assists in 45 games so far this season.

For more on Nash's injury, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

Tags: Rick Nash

The need for the Rangers best players to be their best players
Jan 11, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center Derick Brassard (16) leads teammates back to the bench after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Bruins 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Following the Rangers win over Boston on 1/11/16, Henrik Lundqvist said that the Rangers had a lot of players playing well "but the top guys have to be at the top of their game." (NY Post)

Lundqvist said that it starts with him but "but we all know who those guys are on this team. It's too tough to win in this league with the support guys being your best players." (NY Post)

Alain Vigneault often remarks that the Rangers need their top players to be their top players.

Adam Rotter: Can the Rangers make the playoffs with the inconsistent play from many of their players, besides Henrik Lundqvist? Yes. Will it be easy? No. Which is why the Rangers need to do whatever is necessary to get consistent play out of the top line (Rick Nash, Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello), the second line (Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider) and their top three-defensemen (Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal.) If the Rangers can get their top guys going then they should be able to get into the playoffs without much stress. If they don't get these guys going, then this battle for the playoffs could come down to the very end.


The idea of Steven Stamkos being traded to the Rangers

Erik Erlendsson lists the Rangers as one of eight teams that could try to acquire Steven Stamkos if Tampa Bay decides to move him before the 2/29 trade deadline. (TBO.com)

Erlendsson puts four teams (St. Louis, Vancouver, Detroit and Toronto) as teams that could possibly acquire Stamkos and sign him long-term and four teams (Rangers, Montreal, Wild, Tampe keeping him) that could acquire Stamkos in a bid to win the Stanley Cup. (TBO.com)

He notes that the Rangers need more scoring to get past Washington and adding Stamkos would make the Rangers deeper and more formidable against the Caps. (TBO.com)

Adam Rotter: I don't think Stamkos gets traded before the deadline unless Tampa is blown away by an offer from a team that has a contract in place to sign him. Tampa needs Stamkos to make a run at the Stanley Cup and will likely take the route the Devils did with Zach Parise in an attempt to win it.

A mid-season trade of Stamkos to the Rangers would require some major salary cap surgery to work and seems unlikely. I continue to think though that if Stamkos becomes a UFA the Rangers will make a big run at him and make moves to fit him in after he signed.

Tags: Rangers Rumors

Are the Rangers on the right track?
Jan 5, 2016; New York, NY, USA; The New York Rangers salute their fans after defeating the Dallas Stars 6-2 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Following the Rangers win over the Sabres, Alain Vigneault was asked if he thought the Rangers were on the right track. (MSG)

Vigneault said that over the last month the Rangers had been more consistent in their play and that they had won 3 of their previous 4 games, with the loss being "the stinker we had in Ottawa."

He added that the Rangers like how they are playing at 5 on 5 but needs to improve on their special teams and on the road.

Vigneault added, jokingly, that every time he thinks the Rangers are on the right right track something like the Ottawa game happens."

Adam Rotter: Well now we will find out for sure if the Rangers are on the right track towards being a consistent team that plays up to their potential and win or a team that will battle inconsistency as they battle for the playoffs. My belief is that this team will finally figure it out and start winning consistently but I have thought that before this year and been left disappointed. It's crunch time now. It all starts tomorrow and we will have to wait and see.


Henrik Lundqvist was really happy for former teammate John Scott
Jan 31, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) of the Montreal Canadiens is picked up by his teammates after beating the Atlantic Division during the championship game of the 2016 NHL All Star Game at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports (Christopher Hanewinckel)

Scott played six games for the Rangers in 2011-12

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

Dylan McIlrath's season so far for the Rangers
Jan 14, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath (6) checks New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) into the boards during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

In 20 games this season, Dylan McIlrath has 2 goals, 1 assist, a plus five rating, 42 PIM, 21 shots on goal, 52 hits, 23 blocked shots, 10 giveaways, 6 takeaways and 15:23 of ice time.

By month, McIlrath played:

  • October: 1 game: 12:20 per game
  • November: 5 games: 13:34 per game
  • December: 11 games: 16:52 per game
  • January 3 games: 13:57 per game

McIlrath has two fighting majors this season, one misconduct, 4 roughing penalties, 2 hooking penalties, and 1 each of unsportsmanlike conduct, hi-sticking, slashing, instigator and interference.

At 5 on 5 when McIlrath is on the ice, the Rangers have 53.49% of the shot attempts. (Natural Stat Trick)

Larry Brooks wrote recently that the Rangers are a better team when McIlrath is in the lineup. (NY Post)

Adam Rotter: So far McIlrath has been impressive. He looks comfortable on the ice, is usually in good position, can move guys out of the front of the net and gets his shot on net when he takes it. Coming into the season I thought McIlrath would get between 30-40 games and he should be on that kind of pace. It would be nice if he could play more than just as a replacement for Dan Boyle on back to backs, but so far Alain Vigneault hasn't seemed interested in doing that.

At the very least, McIlrath's play this season should have wrapped up the third-pair right defense spot for next season and the foreseeable future.

Tags: Dylan McIlrath

The need for Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes to be a lot better in the second half
Nov 19, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Rangers right wing Kevin Hayes (13) skates with the puck during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Joe Micheletti said that he though Chris Kreider was ready to take another step this season but not only has he not, he's regressed. (NY Post)

Micheletti said that there is still time for Kreider to find his game and that the same applies to Kevin Hayes. (NY Post)

Larry Brooks writes that in the second half of the year "Kreider must exert some influence on the game" and that Hayes "has to contribute in a much more meaningful way." (NY Post)

Kreider had 3 goals and 2 assists in eight games in January.

Hayes had 0 goals and 2 assists in 12 December games and 1 goal and 4 assists in 10 January games.

Adam Rotter: So much of this season for the Rangers was/is based around the play of Kreider and Hayes. There was a lot of hope/expectation that Kreider would start to elevate his game to being a 30-goal scorer and the impact power forward that his skill set should allow him to be. That hasn't happened this season and if not for the past few weeks worth of games, it's been a pretty unremarkable season for Kreider so far.

I thought Hayes would flourish as a winger in the Rangers top-six and get him away from faceoffs and some of the responsibilities that a center has. That didn't happen and then Hayes seemed to just struggle at center for most of the year. He has been better since he was benched but there is still a level of play, if not two levels, that he needs to get to if the Rangers want to make a run.

Tags: Chris Kreider , Kevin Hayes

What Henrik Lundqvist said about JT Miller's game
Jan 19, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers center J.T. Miller (10) celebrates after scoring the game winning goal with Ryan McDonagh (27) against the Vancouver Canucks during overtime of an NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers defeated the Canucks 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports (Adam Hunger)

Following the Rangers win over Carolina, Henrik Lundqvist said that JT Miller has "all the tools" to be a "really good hockey player" and pointed to his speed, skill and strength. (Daily News)

Lundqvist said that Miller has one of the best shots on the team and likes how he plays the game. (Daily News)

He said that Miller is a hard-nosed player with skill and someone can be "the difference" for the Rangers. (Daily News)

Miller has 9 goals and four assists in the past 24 games. He has four goals in the last four games.

Tags: J.T. Miller

Cartoon Mats Zuccarello with a medal and the Statue of Liberty
(PHOTO: ILLUSTRATION Inge Grødum / PHOTO: PONTUS Hook)

Zuccarello was named Aftenposten's Gold Medal winner in Norway.

On winning the award, Zuccarello credited his teammates and said that he can't win anything without them. He said that he isn't concerned with his numbers and that the trophies he wants to win are team trophies. (Aftenposten)

In his interview with Aftenposten, he said that 2015 was a great year and that he performed well on the ice, got a new contract that made him happy and also got a chance to go to Tanzania on a charity trip. He also referenced his brain injury when talking about 2015.

Tags: Mats Zuccarello

Henrik Lundqvist on his game the last month
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, of Sweden, is shown during a break in the second period of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Friday, May 22, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Henrik Lundqvist was 6-3-1 in January this year with a GAA of 2.17 and a save percentage of .922.

In December, Lundqvist was 4-5-1 with a GAA of 3.27 and a save percentage of .892.

Following the win over Carolina, Lundqvist said "I've been talking about it, last 7-8 games, last few weeks I feel like I am playing my game. We haven't won every game but I feel like I am playing my game and that gives me a lot of confidence that I am doing the right things. It's going to give me a bigger opportunity to have big games consistently. I am just trying to build from every game." (MSG)

Lundqvist said that he is looking forward to the second half of the season.

Adam Rotter: January was encouraging for Lundqvist after he, and the whole time, were very shaky throughout December. He started to look locked in and like his usual dominant self against the Islanders and hasn't let up much since. I do think that Antti Raanta needs to get more starts to help Lundqvist get some rest in what is poised to be a very tight race. If the Rangers aren't confident that Raanta can win them games then Lundqvist will get the bulk/all, like he did earlier in his career but that would come at a cost of potentially tiring him out in the playoffs. That said, can you worry about potentially tiring him out if there is a question that you won't make it?

Tags: Henrik Lundqvist

What John Tavares said about Ryan McDonagh
Dec 30, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

1/30/16 | 12:49PM: Tavares said that he has a lot of respect for McDonagh and that he does so much for the Rangers. He said that McDonagh is such a "good-all around player" and "such a good skater."(Newsday)

8/30/15 | 6:39PM: John Tavares of the Islanders says that Ryan McDonagh is "one of the most complete defensemen in the league." (The Hockey News Yearbook 2015-16)

Tavares says that when the Isles play the Rangers he sees a lot of McDonagh and Dan Girardi and that is is always a "tough task."

He praised McDonagh's skating ability as well as how he can recover when you think you have a step on him. (The Hockey News Yearbook 2015-16)

Tavares added, "not only does he skate so well, but he does a lot of the gritty things - blocks shots, gets in the corner, clears the front of the net. He's great at moving the puck, he's great at joining the rush, so he can play any style you want." (The Hockey News Yearbook 2015-16)

Since coming into the NHL, McDonagh has played 216:36 against Tavares, the most of any player. Tavares has 1 goal,1 1 assist and 13 shots on goal against McDonagh. (Stats.HockeyAnalysis)

Tags: Ryan McDonagh
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