Rangers' penalty-killing unit gets job done again

Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad (27), Rangers defenseman Florida Panthers center Nick Bjugstad (27), Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) and Panthers left wing Tomas Fleischmann (14) battle for the puck in front of Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the first period of a game at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 10, 2013) Photo Credit: Ray Stubblebine

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In the previous nine games, the Rangers' penalty kill was superb, denying 27 of 31 opportunities for an 87.1-percent rate, second behind the Canucks' 89.1.

On Sunday night, the Panthers did score one power-play goal, at 19:33 of the first period, but the shorthanded specialists -- mainly Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin, Brian Boyle, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh -- stopped two more opportunities, including a 1:15 stretch with a two-man advantage, in a 4-3 win over Florida.

The aim is to pair forwards "who are comfortable with each other and can read off one another," coach Alain Vigneault said. "It seems all of the guys who've been out of our lineup -- except for [Rick] Nash -- have been guys I can use to kill penalties, so it makes it a little bit more challenging. But Ulf [Samuelsson, his assistant coach] has done a real solid job."

Mashinter gets his chance

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With Taylor Pyatt out with a concussion suffered against Columbus, Brandon Mashinter stepped in on the fourth line for his fifth game of the season, and his focus was on defense.

"I want to play the best I can defensively on my shifts," said Mashinter, 25, who was acquired from the Sharks in January, "then maybe try to contribute offensively off that."

Mashinter had three hits in a total of five minutes Sunday night.

"Mash is a depth player that brings a physical element," Vigneault said. "I've seen improvement. What I see is a young man that works real hard and brings a physical dimension to our team that we need."

Nash, Moore: No practice

Nash (concussion), who missed his 14th game, and Dominic Moore (strained oblique), who missed his sixth, did not practice but were on ice shooting at backup Cam Talbot and doing drills with assistant coach Daniel Lacroix. Nash is out indefinitely; Moore might be ready to play in Montreal on Saturday.

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