VANCOUVER, British Columbia - The evolution of Chris Kreider has taken another turn. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault wants more production from Kreider, who hasn't scored in 11 games. Kreider understands, but he believes he can't focus on scoring or the rest of his game will suffer.
There's a bit of a disconnect, but the former No. 1 left wing will start from the low end, playing on the fourth line against the Canucks Saturday night. J.T. Miller will skate with Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis.
"I know Chris' intentions are real good, his work ethic is real good, he's a good solid two-way player, but he needs to bring some offensive production," Vigneault said after a practice in which Kreider skated with Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast. "Some of the close games that we've been on the wrong side right now, a lot of it has been to do with not getting the timely goal. We've got a few guys right now who need to get on the scoresheet, and Chris is one of them. He's got to find a way to contribute and help us out."
Kreider, 23, scratched for the last game with neck spasms, had 17 goals and 37 points in 66 games last season and added five goals and 13 points in 15 playoff games. This season, he has four goals and 13 points in 24 games. Miller, 21, has two goals and an assist in four games since his recall from the AHL.
"I know how I have to play, I don't need someone to send me a message," Kreider said. "I put more pressure on myself than anyone else. I know how I have to play; if anything, it's a commentary on the way guys played when I was out . . . I'm going to try to do as much as I can with the two guys I'm playing with. If we get the two points, I'll be happy.
"If I pressure myself and worry about scoring, the other stuff is going to suffer," Kreider said. "If you play honestly, do the right things in your own end and do the right things in the neutral zone, that eventually carries over."
According to Vigneault, it's also about Miller. "J.T.'s played well and that line had some real good offensive and defensive looks,'' he said. "They played a real strong game, and I don't want to break that up right now."
Notes and quotes: Matt Hunwick and Tanner Glass are expected to be healthy scratches.