Rangers get production from makeshift line
Web linksSteve Zipay's Blue Notes
It's way too early to toss around clever nicknames for the Rangers' line of Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan and Taylor Pyatt, which had five points in a surprising 3-2 road win over the potent Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
Pyatt, a 6-4, 225-pound left wing who was moved to the right and up to the second line for the past two games, and should remain there when the Rangers visit the Devils on Tuesday, is the newcomer to Broadway. After playing the last three seasons for Phoenix, he was acquired as a free agent on July 3.
"If it's a battle, the puck usually bounces off of him. He's got that big body," said Hagelin, who used his world-class speed effectively on the forecheck. "You know what he's going to do. He's good in the corners, and that's where we got some pressure. You can see how it's easy for me to play with him and Stepan in the middle. He's a really smart player. The way we played [Saturday] is the way we need to play if we want to be successful."
Thanks to Pyatt's two assists, Hagelin and Stepan scored for the first time since last season. Hagelin's funk lasted 36 games, Stepan's 21.
The trio had nine shots and seemed to jell early.
"I think the chances we were having in the first period were chances where you have to make pretty good plays to get chances like that, so any time you're making good plays and get the puck on your stick, the confidence is going to start building," said Stepan, who had four shots (10 in the last two games) and four hits in 18:26. "With your confidence building, it kind of relaxes you a little bit. You know you're going to find a way to get one if you continue to work."
Nash, who powered his way to the net for the go-ahead goal, admired the threesome's performance.
"Their line was great," he said. "It seemed like they played the whole game in the other end."