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Rangers' Yandle focused on getting back to his game

by Shawn Roarke /

WASHINGTON -- New York Rangers defenseman Keith Yandle did not have a good game Monday in a 1-0, Game 3 loss to the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center that gave the home team a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series.

It went far deeper than the fact the game's only goal, by Capitals forward Jay Beagle, was scored while Yandle was on the ice, although that play was when his struggles perhaps were most apparent.

The Capitals were able to get in heavy on the forecheck and disrupt the tandem of Dan Girardi and Yandle, then Beagle was able to track down his own shot and circle behind the net unmarked before banking a shot off the skate of a late-reacting Yandle and past goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

Yandle also committed one of two Rangers penalties, putting the Capitals' dangerous power play on the ice in a tie game. He turned over the puck while under duress on the forecheck and generally had a far more difficult time than his peers handling the heavy game employed by the Washington forwards.

Yandle admitted the performance bothered him.

"When you make mistakes, you think about it," he said Tuesday.

During a crisp practice at Verizon Center to prepare for Game 4 of the best-of-7 series (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports 2), Rangers coach Alain Vigneault pulled Yandle aside for a quick conversation.

Vigneault would not divulge the topic of the discussion.

"That was a hockey conversation between a coach and a player, and it is one of a multitude of conversations we have in the course of a year," he said.

Yandle knows he is under a lot of scrutiny. He was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes a day before the NHL Trade Deadline, seen by many as an all-in move by general manager Glen Sather. Yandle was brought in to help on the power play, add to the offensive attack and provide some depth to what was already a good defense.

He has two assists this postseason, and the power play has stagnated against the Capitals, scoring once in three games.

Yandle said he believes the answer for him is to return to his ability to generate in the attacking zone. If the Rangers have the puck when he is on the ice they can't be put under duress in their own end.

"For me, I think I have to be in the play more," he said. "I have to be up in the play and helping out more offensively and not being hesitant in the offensive zone and create some offense for my team and for myself. That's when I think I am at my best, when I am jumping up like that and not thinking."

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