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Posted On Monday, 12.02.2013 / 1:26 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers give Talbot second consecutive start

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot got a text message from his coaching staff Sunday that simply read "Be ready."

The 26-year-old, who has a 6-1-0 record and leads the NHL entering action Monday in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.944), suspected the text meant he would be starting consecutive games for the first time in his brief NHL career. But at the time he wasn't sure.

He's sure now after coach Alain Vigneault revealed Monday that Talbot will start in net for the Rangers against the Winnipeg Jets. It's the first time goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has sat out consecutive games since February 2011. But Vigneault downplayed any talk of a controversy.

"Cam has played extremely well right now. He's got a lot of confidence in his abilities and for tonight's game I just thought that was the right call," Vigneault said. "Henrik is definitely the No. 1 goaltender on this team. He's proven that over the years he's one of the best if not the best in the National Hockey League. But for tonight's game I feel the best thing for us is to go with Cam."

Posted On Saturday, 11.30.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers, Canucks still searching for an identity

NEW YORK -- Roughly a third of the way into their first seasons with their respective new teams, Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella and New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault are still looking to establish a team identity, or at least one that matches what they envisioned when they first took over their new jobs.

It's an unusual situation, considering the two coaches essentially swapped jobs during the summer when Tortorella was fired after slightly more than four seasons in New York and Vigneault was let go after seven seasons in Vancouver.

Entering his first regular season game against his former team, Tortorella admitted the Canucks were still finding themselves as a team.

"I don't think so. I think we're making strides. I don't think we've totally nailed it down," Tortorella said when asked if the Canucks had found their identity. "I think it's very important we get there as soon as possible. I think you need it be who you are. We still haven't totally defined that. I have an idea of who we'd like to be. But we're still in the process of trying to get that to be instinctive for our players and how we play."

Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 1:17 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers coach Vigneault understands Bruins rivalry

NEW YORK -- Coach Alain Vigneault was not at the helm last season when the New York Rangers were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in a five-game Eastern Conference Semifinal series. But he admitted to harboring his own personal feelings for the defending Eastern Conference champions.

"I don't need to have played for the Rangers to have a dislike for Boston," Vigneault said after New York's morning skate. "I got that on my own."

As coach of the Vancouver Canucks, who dismissed him following last season's first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, Vigneault and his team lost to the Bruins in seven games in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. That series was an intense one for all parties involved, but Vigneault didn't feel any need to remind his players of their respective histories with Boston.

"I think everybody is aware of the New York-Boston rivalry. It's a good one," Vigneault said. "It's intense and it's going to be that way [Tuesday]."

Posted On Tuesday, 11.19.2013 / 11:58 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Nash to return to Rangers' lineup

NEW YORK -- All-Star forward Rick Nash confirmed after the morning skate that he will be in the lineup for the New York Rangers on Tuesday night as they take on the Boston Bruins at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN).

It will mark Nash's first game since sustaining a concussion on Oct. 8 against the San Jose Sharks.

Nash missed 17 games with the injury and admitted he was curious to see how he would respond to his first game action in over a month.

"I'm excited. Kind of a controlled emotion. It's been a long six weeks, so I'm excited to get in there," Nash said after the morning skate. "I think the first everything is going to take a while, whether it's a hit, a shot, a pass, making different plays. It was a long time off, so it's going to take some time."

Posted On Sunday, 11.17.2013 / 5:46 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers look to ride momentum off win in Montreal

NEW YORK -- To say the New York Rangers were long overdue for a win in Montreal would be a major understatement.

After losing eight straight games against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, New York finally got that elusive win in Quebec Saturday night. They only scored one goal, their first in four contests in Montreal, but it was enough with Cam Talbot making 22 saves to secure the 1-0 win.

With their first win in Montreal since March 17, 2009, the Rangers are looking to ride that momentum into their next game Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"I think it's good for the team. Anytime we can get a road win, especially when you go into that building, where there hasn't been a lot of success," Rangers associate coach Scott Arniel said, "we want to use it as momentum."

Posted On Sunday, 11.17.2013 / 1:16 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Scrivens steps into spotlight with Kings

NEW YORK -- When he first saw the Los Angeles Kings' four-game road swing through New York and New Jersey on the calendar, goaltender Ben Scrivens thought he might have a chance to catch up with some old classmates from Cornell University, many of whom live in the New York metropolitan area.

But those plans changed drastically early in the trip for the Alberta native, who played four years at Cornell and was named ECAC goalie of the year in 2010.

In the first game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres, franchise goaltender Jonathan Quick was lost to a lower-body injury and forced to go back home to further evaluate the ailment. That injury thrust Scrivens into the L.A. crease. He'll be there again Sunday night at Madison Square Garden as the Kings face the New York Rangers.

Posted On Tuesday, 11.12.2013 / 1:22 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Lundqvist, Rangers look to avenge loss to Devils

NEW YORK -- Having won six of their past seven games and elevated their record to above .500 for the first time all season, the New York Rangers will look to continue their success Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils. They will ice mostly the same lineup that in recent weeks has helped them rebound from a difficult 2-6-0 start in which they were outscored 31-12.

The Rangers held an optional skate Tuesday which was attended by five players, including forwards Rick Nash and Dominic Moore, both of whom are working their way back from injury. Moore is close to fully recovered from his strained oblique muscle but likely won't be back in the lineup before the weekend at the earliest.

"It's still going to be sore for a while there. I've just to keep pushing it," Moore said. "You've got to push it to the point where you know it's good."

Posted On Sunday, 11.10.2013 / 6:53 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Panthers send Markstrom to AHL; Nash skates again

Jacob Markstrom entered training camp poised to develop from the Florida Panthers' goaltender of the future into their goaltender of the present. But the signing of Tim Thomas shortly before the season, coupled with Markstrom's slowed development, led the Panthers to assign the 23-year-old to their American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio.

Markstrom, who hasn't won a game since Oct. 11, is 1-5-3 with a 3.36 goals-against average and .877 save percentage. Despite getting the start in a 3-2 loss on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators, Tim Thomas will be back between the pipes against the New York Rangers on Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers, who will insert Brandon Mashinter for Taylor Pyatt (concussion). Mashinter has been a healthy scratch the past two games for New York.

Posted On Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 3:38 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers' Miller returns to lineup at ideal time

NEW YORK -- Thirty-five games into his NHL career, New York Rangers forward J.T. Miller remains a work in progress.

The 2011 first-round pick (No. 15) scored twice in his Madison Square Garden debut on Feb. 7 but hasn't scored since. After opening the 2013-14 season with one assist in nine games, he was made a healthy scratch Monday night in a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

But with New York playing a back-to-back set at home Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and on the road Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Rangers coach Alain Vigneauilt has decided to inject Miller's young legs back in the lineup.

The move couldn't have come at a better time for Miller, who was raised just outside Pittsburgh in suburban Ohio and grew up idolizing the Penguins.

"One of my favorite players was [Alex] Kovalev. I tried to play like him. Him and obviously [Jaromir] Jagr and Mario [Lemieux]. I really looked up to those guys," said Miller, who especially tried to emulate Kovalev's style. "His wrist shot was very special to watch. He scored a lot of goals with that. It was great to watch that guy."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 2:19 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer / - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Penguins energized as Neal skates with team

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins enjoyed some extra energy during their pregame skate Wednesday heading into a divisional matchup against the rival New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2, RDS2). Some of that extra jump came courtesy of a standout player rejoining the team following a long absence.

All-Star forward James Neal skated in part of the morning skate, mostly participating in conditioning drills. Neal hasn't played since Oct. 3, when he skated 3:49 against the New Jersey Devils and left with an upper-body injury.

Neal, along with injured forward Beau Bennett, stayed on the ice after practice to continue conditioning work, with Neal joking as he walked to the Penguins locker room that he needed a stretcher following the intense workout.

Bennett, out since Oct. 12 due to a lower-body injury, could be back as soon as the weekend; there remains no timetable for Neal's return.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma acknowledged the mere presence of these players trying to work their way back was uplifting.

"James in particular," Bylsma said. "We've missed both those guys for extended periods of times. Having James on the ice, even in small quantities this morning, there was a lot of jump in a lot of guys' step seeing James out there."

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Jamie improves every game and every year. I've only been with him for two years, but as a player and as a person it seems like every week he's getting stronger and better, and becoming a better leader and better captain. He wants the team to be so successful that he's making himself better as a player.

— Stars forward Tyler Seguin on teammate Jamie Benn, the '14-15 Art Ross Trophy winner
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