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Spooner Making Presence Felt With Early Success as a Ranger

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

VANCOUVER --  It's difficult to envision how Ryan Spooner's first two games as a Ranger could have gone better.

The 26-year-old has five assists, including one on John Gilmour's overtime tally Wednesday night in Vancouver that snapped a seven-game winless streak, and has had instant success on a line with Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast.

Spooner, who arrived in New York Sunday after a trade with Boston that sent Rick Nash to the Bruins, said the adjustment to a new team hasn't been as difficult as one would believe, namely because his new teammates have been so welcoming.

"It wouldn't say it's tough. I think most of the guys here have been traded before. They know what it's like," he said. "They've all been nice to me and it's been great to see.

"Team wise," he continued, "I think the team has played well. It's been fun. I'm excited to see what the last 18 games has in store for us."

The Hayes unit has three goals in the last two games, with two coming off the stick of Hayes Wednesday night. Who had assists on all three tallies? The new guy.

For Hayes, it isn't so much about chemistry as just likeminded players focusing on the same thing: making plays.

"People can say it's chemistry, but I think it's just two players that play a similar style who are trying to make the same plays," he said Thursday. "The results are in the back of the net."

Not surprisingly, coach Alain Vigneault has liked what he's seen from Spooner and that line as a whole in the two games they've been a unit.

"From Ryan, there's a good skill level there," Vigneault said. "Very good skater, likes to have the puck and sees the ice well. He's very confident with the puck. So far - it's just been two games - he's made some good plays and he made a real nice play [Wednesday] night on our winning goal in overtime."

Video: Get to Know Ryan Spooner

With the Rangers allowing 55 shots against the Canucks, there are certainly areas Vigneault and company would like to improve at, namely in puck management, with the bench boss feeling that will lead to less time spent in the defensive zone.

Going from a team in Boston with championship aspirations to one in transition in New York is certainly a change for Spooner. But as a professional, he and his teammates will keep competing and that's what keeps the drive going.

"I think at the end of the day, it's a challenge for us here and we have to step up to that challenge," he said. "I think as a group here, we just try and play well. That's all we can really do it stay positive and just move forward with it like that. It should be fun."

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