Marc Staal gets shot on power play

Marc Staal skates wearing a visor against the Marc Staal skates wearing a visor against the Washington Capitals during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Madison Square Garden. (May 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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LOS ANGELES - Marc Staal, who began Monday night's game two points shy of 100 in his NHL career, is getting a real opportunity on the first power-play unit under coach Alain Vigneault.

Staal, in his seventh season with the Rangers, is healthy after a concussion and an eye injury limited him to 67 games the past two years. He had only six power-play goals in his career before scoring from the point at Phoenix in the Rangers' opener.

"I like his shot and I like the fact that he's been able to sneak into the holes in the right areas," Vigneault said.

Staal scored in that fashion, creeping into the zone, taking a pass from Rick Nash and beating Mike Smith at 3:38 of the second period. Brad Richards is manning the other point on that unit. "With Brad you've got a guy who can shoot and pass," Vigneault said. "With Marc right now, we're giving that a look."

The second half

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Tuesday's game in San Jose completes the first of 13 back-to-backs. Last season, the Rangers were 3-1-0 on the road in the second game of such a series. Henrik Lundqvist for his career is 41-17-7 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in second games. But Vigneault is considering giving backup Martin Biron a start in one of the next three games, against the Sharks, Ducks or Blues.

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Coach knows West

The Rangers don't play an East team until Oct. 16 at Washington. "What it does for me now, the teams that we're playing I know," said Vigneault, who coached Vancouver for seven years. "As far as preparing our team, I've got a good handle on what's coming and that should help our team. I don't know the East, so it's a good thing we haven't played them."

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