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Alain Vigneault pleased with Rangers’ improved defense

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) makes

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) makes a pass up the ice during a game at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Rangers coach Alain Vigneault vowed to improve the Rangers defense this season. Through six games, consider the mission accomplished.

“It seems a lot of times in our own end we’re finding spots where we can outnumber the opposition,” Vigneault said on Tuesday. “Make it real hard for them to make plays. It hasn’t been perfect, but I do believe we’re on the right track as far as playing when we don’t have the puck the way we have to play.”

Captain Ryan McDonagh, who has been paired with newcomer Nick Holden, said he thinks the Rangers have done a good job of putting last season’s poor defensive play behind them.

“We’re pretty confident,” McDonagh said. “Obviously, it’s going to be a test every night. We’re not really thinking about last year. We’ve kind of got new faces and a new group up front and a few in the back, but I just like the fact that we’re communicating and we’re making really good reads, understanding when we’re in trouble and when it’s time to be aggressive or be patient.”

Going into Tuesday, the Rangers were tied for ninth in the league in goals allowed at 2.67 per game and third in scoring with a goals per game average of 3.67.

Keep up that differential and you’re going to win a lot of games. The Rangers are 4-2 going into Wednesday’s contest against the visiting Bruins.

“When you play well when you don’t have the puck,” Vig neault said, “and you’re quick to your assignments and you’re quick to check and you’re quick to stick-on-puck, you make it very hard on the opposition.”

Notes & quotes: Chris Kreider will likely miss Wednesday’s game with neck spasms. Vigneault called Kreider “a little more than day-to-day.” . . . Pavel Buchnevich (back) skated in the non-contact portion of practice . . . J.T. Miller had a maintenance day . . . Henrik Lundqvist will start for the sixth time in seven games.

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