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Rangers' Keith Yandle finally has a breakout night

New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks

New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault looks on against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period of an NHL game at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

After the Rangers acquired Keith Yandle from the Phoenix Coyotes a day before the March 2 trade deadline, the defenseman arrived with the expectation of helping their offense, at even strength and on the power play. After all, he led the league in assists at the time.

But he had only one goal and no assists in his first nine games with the Rangers and often looked lost and uncertain, on offense and defense.

On Sunday night, though, in the Rangers' 7-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks, Yandle broke out. His three assists in 20:41 of ice time (including one on the power play) tied a career high. He had four shots on goal and only one giveaway.

"I think I was just trying to be quick with [the puck],'' Yandle said, "not hold on to it too long. In the last game, in Carolina, I was trying to make the second play before making the first one. Tonight, it was just about getting it and getting it into guys' hands."

After spending his entire career in Arizona, Yandle said he is "getting more and more comfortable, just kind of finding guys' tendencies, so over the last week or so, it's been coming together more and more."

Against a bigger, heavier Ducks team, Yandle said: "We had to play a north-south game to keep them from playing the puck behind the net. In the third, we kind of stepped on the pedal a little more. Having played [Saturday night] on the road, it was a big win for us."

Blue notes

It was the first time the Rangers scored seven goals at the Garden since March 6, 2011, against the Flyers . . . Chris Kreider's goal was his 18th, a career high . . . The Rangers are 16-4-5 against the Western Conference and 11-1-1 against the Pacific Division. The Stanley Cup champion Kings come to town Tuesday night . . . Martin St. Louis, who sprained his right knee on March 15, is "not ready yet" to start skating, a team spokesman said.


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