The lines Alain Vigneault found success with are about to be changed, probably for good

I still can’t get used to Alain Vigneault’s steady line combinations after four years of John Tortorella’s incessant juggling, but Vigneault has stuck with the same combinations for quite some time now.  It’s worth nothing that the Rangers finally turned a corner this season thanks in no small part to the team’s balance and chemistry up front.  Mats Zuccarello has been the…

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Appreciating Benoit Pouliot’s recent play

When the Rangers signed Benoit Pouliot in the offseason, we viewed it as a solid depth signing that could lead to some great tertiary scoring. Pouliot was one of the league leaders in P/60, and the Rangers got him for a bargain of a contract. It was low-risk, high-reward at its finest. However the signing didn’t work out as planned…

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Rangers midseason grades: bottom-six forwards

Like many parts of the 2013-2014 roster, the bottom-six forwards have struggled through long stretches of the season thus far.  Part of that can be attributed to players being used out of place and in unusual situations, but the team hasn’t gotten consistent play out of many of its depth forwards for most of the year.  That seems to be…

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Rangers’ resurgence won’t last long if top forwards don’t start producing

The Rangers were able to salvage their franchise-record homestand with wins over Minnesota and Toronto, but things still need to change if the Blueshirts are going to turn their season around. New York’s 27th-ranked offense has been carried by the likes of Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider and Benoit Pouliot over the last two weeks, while the team’s top players continue…

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Rick Nash needs to make a statement

When the Rangers traded for Rick Nash, it was with the intention of finding their offensive saviour. It hasn’t happened. The Rangers still struggle to score goals consistently, and while Nash has flashed his obvious and undoubted brilliance, he hasn’t (yet) been the player the Rangers were looking for. Nash’s first regular season as a Ranger was a solid one…

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Benoit Pouliot vs. Taylor Pyatt vs. J.T. Miller

As the season has progressed the biggest concern has been the play of some of the veterans, specifically Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt (when healthy), and why a player like J.T. Miller isn’t in the lineup instead. None of the three have been consistent enough to warrant a full time spot on the roster, and it can be argued that…

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Could Chris Kreider force his way into the Calder reckoning?

It’s come a year later than expected, but Chris Kreider is finally making his own way as a New York Ranger. During the Rangers recent stretch of good form, Kreider has arguably been the biggest physical force on the ice for the Rangers, using his body to great effect on countless occasions. He’s been producing offense, getting under countless opponents’…

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Is Mats Zuccarello’s ‘lack of finish’ an issue?

Mats Zuccarello’s response to his healthy scratch against Philadelphia has been nothing short of immense.  At the time, Zuccarello was stumbling through the season doing nothing to warrant an extended future with the Rangers. Alain Vigneault was fully justified in removing the little Norwegian from the line-up when he did. Since the 2-1 loss to the Flyers on the 24th…

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Making sense of yesterday’s line combinations

When the new line combinations were made public knowledge during yesterday’s practice, a lot of questions and a lot of heat were directed at the coach. The top line of Derek Stepan as the pivot between Brad Richards and Chris Kreider made sense. All three defense pairings made sense. But the second, third, and fourth forward lines looked like something…

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Injuries testing Rangers depth early

Every team has to deal with injuries over the course of the season, it’s a part of the game. The Rangers are one of those teams dealing with such injuries right now, and it’s testing their depth early in the year. Not only is New York dealing with injuries, they are dealing with injuries to significant players. They are missing…

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