50° Good Morning
50° Good Morning

Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein adds offensive threat

The Rangers' Kevin Klein returned from back spasms

The Rangers' Kevin Klein returned from back spasms to play against the Detroit Red Wings at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Bobby Orr. Well known. Bobby Kleiner. Huh?

That’s the nickname given to Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein for his newfound attacking style. Klein has scored nine goals in each of the last two years. In his previous three seasons with the Nashville Predators, he had a total of nine goals.

“He’s jumped in the attack a little bit more than he did there, even to some extent where some of his teammates called him ‘Bobby Kleiner,’” Vigneault said. “It’s something we hadn’t seen, he was more of a safe, stay-at-home d-man.”

The 29-year-old was back in the lineup Wednesday after missing three previous games with back spasms. He had one shot in 19:19 of ice time.

With Klein healthy, Dylan McIlrath, who dressed on Monday, was scratched for the third time. “I liked the way he played last game,” Vigneault said. “It’s a numbers game right now, with (defenseman) Adam (Clendening) also bringing us the right shot on the second power-play unit. That plays into our decision-making.”

Hayes’ faceoffs improving

Kevin Hayes, who won just 36 percent of faceoffs last season, is now also taking defensive-zone draws, and improving. “Is it me that I’m trying to show him more confidence, or is it that he’s our only lefty at center at this time?,” Vigneault asked. “I think it’s a combination of both.” Hayes is at 48.3 percent this season; he won seven of 12 faceoff against the Sharks, and four of nine against the Blues. Wednesday night he won two of three faceoffs against the Red Wings.

McDonagh a dad

First-time dad Ryan McDonagh played his first game since the birth of his daughter, Falan Erin, late Monday. The captain called the arrival “perfect timing. I was in the shower after the game and heard that my wife’s (Kaylee) water had broke, so I went straight to the hospital.” McDonagh reported that everyone is well, and that his daughter will add some perspective. “She’ll be the first thing on my mind as soon as I step out of the rink.”


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports