Alain Vigneault Shakes Up Rangers’ Strains, Sits Henrik Lundqvist

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With Christmas behind them and a matchup with the Capitals on Wednesday, there have been modifications aplenty for the Rangers as they returned to work.

That included backup goaltender Ondrej Pavelec beginning with Henrik Lundqvist getting additional time to get better from his early-season workload, in addition to modifications to all 4 strains and two defensive pairs after losses to the Devils and Maple Leafs previous to the three-day Christmas recess.

Most notably, Alain Vigneault dropped Pavel Buchnevich, who started the day tied for second on the crew in each targets (11) and factors (25), to the fourth line.

Vigneault mentioned Buchnevich has “been participant for us” and he would not hesitate to make a change mid-game as he did on Saturday, with Buchnevich shifting down within the second interval and up within the third.

“In our final sport, we had some good moments, however I really feel we must be a bit extra constant,” Vigneault mentioned. “This may, after a three-day break the place you have not practiced, catch everyone’s consideration.”

After talking with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire final week, Vigneault determined earlier than the break that Pavelec would draw his sixth begin of the season and third this month after Lundqvist began 31 of the crew’s first 36 video games, giving him Wednesday and Thursday to apply earlier than returning for Friday’s sport in Detroit, adopted by Monday’s Winter Basic at Citi Subject.

Pavelec had performed properly in his earlier two begins, making 44 and 41 saves in opposition to Dallas and Pittsburgh, respectively.

“I used to be able to play, however I additionally had a sense that I would get an evening off to get an additional day of respiratory room right here earlier than you dig into the subsequent problem,” Lundqvist mentioned.

In the meantime, Mika Zibanejad, whom Vigneault benched in the course of the third interval of Saturday’s loss and whose sport since getting back from a concussion final week was described by Vigneault as “common,” centered Nash and Mats Zuccarello on the morning skate, whereas Kevin Hayes centered Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller and David Desharnais cut up Kreider and Jimmy Vesey, leaving Boo Nieves and Paul Carey with Buchnevich.

And with the Rangers bleeding photographs as of late, Vigneault additionally moved Marc Staal to the proper facet of Brady Skjei and Brendan Smith to the left of Kevin Shattenkirk, the power-play quarterback who has struggled lately.

“It hasn’t been stellar,” Shattenkirk mentioned of his sport. “I feel it is not the place I would like it to be. Energy play hasn’t been going properly, and I am shouldering loads of the – taking loads of that on myself that it is not going properly. I feel that drives my sport, and it is an space of focus for me to attempt to enhance on and get going as a result of I do know it does wonders for me five-on-five.”

The Ryan McDonagh-Nick Holden pair remained intact, and Vigneault feels it is the proper time for this six-man defensive deployment.

“I’ve wished to see this for some time,” Vigneault mentioned. “This three-day break and the best way we completed offers me the chance to make a number of modifications right here.”

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