After being made a healthy scratch Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, rookie Jimmy Vesey will return to the Rangers' lineup tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.
"Obviously no one likes not playing," Vesey told reporters Sunday at the team's morning skate. "Probably had a below average game in San Jose. I'm just trying to take it as a learning experience and get my game back to the level where it needs to be. I think I had been playing well and then just one off night. Just going to try and get back to where I need to be for these last games going into the playoffs."
Coach Alain Vigneault said Vesey had an "off night" in San Jose on Tuesday when he was a minus-2 in 10:05 of ice time. He has stated that Vesey is still in the team's plans moving forward, as evidenced by it being a one-game benching.
Vesey, who has 15 goals and 11 assists for 26 points in 76 games, said the timing of the scratching added to his disappointment. He said it was challenging to not be part of Friday's game as the team continues to lock up its playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference.
"This time of the year, it's the most fun time. It's what we work for going into the playoffs," he said. "It's not fun to watch your teammates play and sacrifice their bodies and work hard in the games. You want to be out there beside them. Definitely want to get back into the lineup and prove to the coaches that I can be counted on going down the stretch."
Vesey's 76 games are the most he's played in a single season. Add in preseason and the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, and that number balloons to more than 80.
The 23-year-old said he doesn't think that's a factor in his play Tuesday night.
"No I think the last couple weeks I've been playing really well," he stated. "I thought the Anaheim game was one of my better games this year. Just for whatever reason San Jose I wasn't making the plays when it was coming up my wall in the D zone. They capitalized on a couple. Just going to put that one behind me and go out in the next game and be ready to go."
In addition to Vesey's return, Tanner Glass will also get back into the lineup for the first time since March 22 against the Islanders. Pavel Buchnevich and Matt Puempel will come out.
Rangers Projected Lineup
Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Mats Zuccarello
J.T. Miller - Mika Zibanejad - Rick Nash
Michael Grabner - Kevin Hayes -Jimmy Vesey
Tanner Glass - Oscar Lindberg - Jesper Fast
Brady Skjei - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Kevin Klein
Brendan Smith - Nick Holden