New York Rangers v Florida Panthers

Rangers thriving under AV, as Torts is ‘scrutinized’ in Vancouver

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It may have taken the New York Rangers some time to find themselves under new coach Alain Vigneault, but find themselves they certainly have.

Since the beginning of January, the Rangers are 22-11-2 in 35 games, during which they’ve scored an average of 3.1 goals, including blowout victories of 7-1, 7-3, and 8-4.

For context’s sake, only six teams — Anaheim, Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Colorado — have averaged more than three goals per game this season.

“We play a different system now where we play differently in our own end,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist told Yahoo Sports. “I think it gives us the ability to have more speed coming out of the zone. I think this year we create more chances and score more goals, which is huge.”

“We have a fast team, a lot of good skaters, so AV wants us to play in a straight line,” said forward Derick Brassard, per The Province newspaper. “We try and establish shots and we have a lot of guys on the back end who can join the rush. He wants us to move the puck fast.”

The Rangers are set to meet the Canucks tonight in Vancouver, where — in quite the twist — there was already no shortage of debate about the future of ex-Rangers coach John Tortorella.

A visit from the Blueshirts has only added to that debate, given Vigneault coached in the city from 2006-13, leading the Canucks to a pair of Presidents’ Trophies and to within a game of winning the Stanley Cup.

Take Brassard’s comment about Vigneault wanting his players to move the puck “fast.” In Vancouver, that rings especially loud after an unnamed scout told The Province that the disappointing Canucks “play so slow” under Tortorella.

Similarly, Lundqvist’s remark about playing “differently in our own end” and having “more speed coming out of the zone” could be viewed as a knock on Tortorella’s collapsing, shot-blocking defensive approach.

When two coaches switch jobs, the comparisons are naturally going to be made. And at this point, most of them paint Vigneault in a better light than Tortorella.

“You guys are going to make your opinions and talk about it because it’s kind of a unique thing that happened with Alain and I,” Tortorella said yesterday, per NHL.com.

“We’re losing games, so I’m the idiot, and he’s winning games, so he’s the smart guy, and rightfully so. When you lose games and you struggle, you’re going to get scrutinized.”

Related: Is Tortorella’s system to blame for Canucks’ woes?

Burrows on waiving his no-trade clause: ‘I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it’

Vancouver Canucks' Alex Burrows celebrates his goal against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, Thursday, March 28, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
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Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.

On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.

When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.

“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.

“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”

Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.

The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.

That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.

If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.

Marchand scores fastest goal in Bruins’ history; Datsyuk’s 900th point

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It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.

Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.

(You can see that goal in the video above.)

Watch that three-goal burst in this video:

The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.

Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.

Kinkaid blanks Kings, Devils move into playoff position

New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) watches a shot on goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Newark N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.

Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.

It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.

This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.

That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.

Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP

So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.

The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Detroit Red Wings on NBC

Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green (25) battle for the puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.

It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.

You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE