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Hayes Line Continues to Build Chemistry

by Matthew Calamia / New York Rangers

As Alain Vigneault continues to play with line combos he's comfortable with, one duo that has been as near a constant as any this season has been Kevin Hayes and Oscar Lindberg.

According to HockeyAnalysis.com, Hayes has spent 109:42 of his176:04 of total ice time at five-on-five this season, the most of any forward he's played with through the team's 15 games. Over that time, Hayes has two goals and four assists for six points, including 16 shots on goal.

Lindberg, meanwhile, has four of his seven goals with Hayes on the ice, including 18 shots on goal.

"I think we both think the game pretty similar," Lindberg said of his chemistry with Hayes. "I think we talk a lot on the bench and help each other out and I think that's an important key to creat chemistry."

Vigneault said the biggest thing he's noticed from Hayes this season has been his confidence.

"He's got a lot of potential, a lot of offensive skill," Vigneault said of Hayes. "He's got a lot of confidence. Sometimes he tries things that a player comining into the Leauge or into his second year wouldn't normally try. I like that in a player. I like a guy that likes to push the envelope a bit."

Hayes has been one of the Rangers' hottest players, posting points in six of his last eight games. Lindberg, meanwhile, has been the biggest surprise of this season, posting seven goals and 11 points through 15 games.

Recently Viktor Stalberg replaced J.T. Miller on that line, and thus far, has fit in well with Hayes and Lindberg. According to the same website, Lindberg has five goals with Stalberg on the ice, while Hayes has a goal and two assists.

"I think we're playing pretty good. We compliment each other pretty well," Stalberg said. "Obviously those guys have some good skills with the puck and can put up some points. I think I can contribute with some speed and getting first to pucks and make sure we keep the puck in our hands.

"We're finding ways to get on the scoresheet and also get some momentum back" Stalberg continued. "I think a couple games it feels like we get out there and turn the momentum back to our side."

At 29, Stalberg is the elder statesman of that line, with Hayes, 23, in his second season and Lindberg, 24, a rookie. Stalberg, a veteran of 351 games, laughed off the suggestion that he was a guy his linemates looked to for advice.

"I don't know about that," he said. "I think both guys — they haven't been in the NHL for a long time, but they've been in tough spots, whether it be in college, World Juniors or World Championships and stuff like that. They're used to playing big games and I think the biggest thing is staying positive."

Lindberg, though, did say Stalberg was a guy he looks to to answer questions during and after games.

"Hes' been in this League for way more years than I have," Lindberg said. "If there's anything I'm wondering about, he's the guy I usually ask for questions. It's good to have a guy like that."

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