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Kevin Hayes rejoins lineup as Rangers look to extend win streak against Anaheim

Bobby Bevilacqua

rangers-vs-ducks-1-7

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

  • New York Rangers (33-18-1, 67 PTS) vs. Anaheim Ducks (28-16-10, 66 PTS)
  • The Rangers are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Calgary flames in the first game of their four game home stand. Rick Nash, Michael Grabner, Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast all scored goals and Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves. Grabner’s goal was his 23rd, and his 22 even strength goals leads the NHL. Chris Kreider scored his 21st goal of the season, tying his career high. JT Miller picked up two assists.
  • The Ducks lost in the shootout against the Tampa Bay Lightning in their last game, giving them two straight losses and a 1-2-1 record in their last four games. Defenseman Brandon Montour scored his first career goal and Ryan Getzlaf also scored. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves but got the loss.

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Addressing the state of the Rangers defense and new trade rumors

Bobby Bevilacqua

dan-girardi-hi-five-line-10-23

Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.

The topic of discussion for the Rangers seems to consistently be about the defense and how the current group of guys is seemingly not enough to win the Stanley Cup. Aging veterans and a lack of a true puck-moving defenseman have made things hard on the Rangers.

On Sunday, Dan Girardi made his return to the lineup against the Coyotes and wound up scoring the game winner on a bullet of a shot from the point. As a result on him returning, Adam Clendening was scratched. There’s been a lot of bad blood on Twitter between bloggers and fans about criticizing Girardi, so I’d like to clarify my stance.

I don’t think Girardi is awful and I don’t think he’s worthy of a healthy scratch. But I do think that he has to stay on the third pairing with sheltered minutes. He’s certainly capable in that role, but simply cannot fulfill the duties of a top pairing defensemen getting big minutes anymore. It comes with age and that’s expected. Also, nobody that criticizes wants him to do bad or is happy to see him struggle. It’s just more frustrating to see him struggle in a role that he shouldn’t be placed in, which isn’t his fault. Read the rest of this entry