The Rangers have looked pretty listless through their last seven or so periods of hockey, and with the undefeated Islanders coming to MSG Tuesday night, it appears—based on morning skate—that Alain Vigneault is ready to marginally shake things up in looking for an answer.
Aside from a healthy-enough Mats Zuccarello participating in skate and looking ready to return to the lineup after missing one game, two other players reportedly will make their Rangers debuts in Ryan Malone and Michael Kostka.
#NYR morning skate lines: Duclair-MSL-Nash Kreider-Brassard-Stempniak Hagelin-Hayes-Zuccarello Malone-DMoore-Glass.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) October 14, 2014
#NYR morning skate D-pairs: McDonagh-Girardi Staal-Kostka JMoore-Klein— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) October 14, 2014
Those changes up front (including Zuccarello) would force J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast out of the lineup. Kevin Hayes, who played his first game as a Ranger Sunday night in the home-opener, looks like he'll be given another crack.
Defensively, it will be Matt Hunwick taking a seat, as Kostka, who was recalled after Dan Boyle went down with an injury, is not only in, but on the second pairing with Marc Staal. One has to speculate if Vigneault continues to not be satisfied with these internal, veteran options if the head coach would turn to a Dylan McIlrath or Conor Allen, or if the team would try swing a trade.
Aside from skating on the fourth line, Malone was also practicing on the top power play unit, as the Rangers special teams also had a different look.
#NYR PP units: McDonagh-MSL Duclair-Malone-Nash; Stempniak-Girardi Kreider-Brassard-Zuccarello— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) October 14, 2014