COLUMBUS, Ohio - Credit 19-year-old Anthony Duclair with a silver lining in the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets.
Duclair, who played 14 minutes, notched his first two NHL points. He assisted on both goals, one on a give-and-go with Lee Stempniak that started near the right corner, the other while battling to get the puck to Rick Nash for a shot in the third period. He also just missed his first NHL goal, rifling a shot from the left circle past Sergei Bobrovsky off the crossbar.
"I thought Duclair played another good game for us, made some real skilled plays," coach Alain Vigneault said.
Duclair said the points "boost my confidence" and reported that he watched video with coaches to assess his game in the offensive zone. When Chris Kreider was sent off for 17 minutes with a minute to play in the second period, Duclair noted that he "was put in with Nash and Marty [St. Louis] for a while. World-class players like that make my job easier."
Hayes decision soon
If rookie Kevin Hayes, a healthy scratch again Saturday night, can't get some playing time soon, he could be AHL-bound next week. "We're going to have to make a decision with him, a young player that needs to play," Vigneault said. "He was cleared for contact two days ago [after he suffered a shoulder injury against Chicago on Oct. 3], and he's had one full skate . . .
"We need to make a decision, whether it's to play here or in Hartford. He did have a good camp, so I'd like to see what he can do in the NHL. Sometime next week, we're going to decide."
The 6-4 Hayes played center in camp and right wing in the last two years in Boston College. But like many NCAA players, Hayes, who had 27 goals and 65 points in 40 games last season, needs to adjust to the speed of the pros, particularly on defense. "It's a lot faster than college," said Hayes, 22, who skated in four preseason games.