Kevin Klein

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Rangers sign KHL d-man Bereglazov

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New York added some defensive depth on Friday, agreeing to terms with Russian blueliner Alexei Bereglazov.

Bereglazov, 23, has spent the last few seasons with KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk, including a ’16-17 campaign in which he scored 19 points in 60 games. He led all d-men aged 24 or younger in assists, with 18.

Despite being passed over at the draft, Bereglazov had a good junior career, highlighted by capturing bronze for Russia at the 2014 World Juniors. He finished with two points in seven games in the tourney, playing alongside the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Ivan Barbashev and his new Rangers teammate, Pavel Buchnevich.

It’ll be interesting to see where he fits in New York next season. The club has seven blueliners under contract — Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Nick Holden, Brady Skjei and Steve Kampfer — with Brendan Smith a pending UFA, and Adam Clendening a pending RFA.

 

Yes, Rangers give Buchnevich (and Holden) a chance in Game 4

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It wouldn’t be a New York Rangers postseason game without fans being a bit upset about Alain Vigneault’s lineup decisions. They’re even more reliable than Henrik Lundqvist in net.

Still, some of the louder complaints are muted heading into Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens, though it remains to be seen if it will be to the extent to quiet complaints.

As discussed earlier, the Rangers will indeed play Pavel Buchnevich tonight, with Nick Holden also drawing into the lineup. Tanner Glass‘ shocking game-winning goal could only carry him so far, so he’s out (along with Kevin Klein on defense).

Stream Rangers vs. Canadiens on NBC Sports

Perhaps this will give the Rangers a shot in the arm and/or better chance of gaining more puck possession against the Habs tonight? Perhaps.

But that doesn’t mean Vigneault gets an A+ from every fan.

PHT Morning Skate: This Maple Leafs fan has become an internet sensation

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–This Toronto Maple Leafs fan became an internet sensation after he was photographed with a cigarette in his mouth during Game 2 at the Verizon Center in Washington. Obviously, the fact that he has the Stanley Cup shaved into his head and his face is completely painted in blue and white also helped. (Washington Post)

Here’s some additional info on the man they call “dartguy”. (BarDown)

–A lot of things went right for the Montreal Canadiens in their win over the New York Rangers on Sunday, but Torrey Mitchell had a bit of an embarrassing moment when he was sent flying into the opponent’s bench by Kevin Klein. (Sportsnet)

–Colin Fleming wrote about his memories of the 1987 quadruple overtime game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals, which was known as “Easter Epic”. Fleming explains how a memorable game like that made such a lasting impression on him. Fleming writes: “My father died when I was twenty-five of a heart attack. My sister died when she was thirty-three of a heroin overdose. I have gone through some things in my own life, as I try to deal with the nowness, where I have almost died, and often I have thought back to what became known as the Easter Epic. The Easter part always seemed so apt to me, that this four OT game, which represented both elimination and advancement, should culminate on Easter.” (Sports Illustrated)

Jake Guentzel‘s hat trick helped the Penguins grab a 3-0 series lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night. You can watch the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–The 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs are far from over,  but if we had to hand out the Conn Smythe right now, it would probably go to Blues goalie Jake Allen. After an up and down regular season, Allen has been incredible through three playoff games. (NBC Sports)

Kasperi Kapanen scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Washington on Saturday night, but his father, Sami, missed it. At least the former NHLer had a good reason. Sami is an assistant coach and majority owner of KalPa of the Finnish League, and they played and won a Game 7 of their own on Saturday night. “To me, it’s just fatherly joy on watching something like that. Then you go back and you start thinking, ‘S—, I did never score in overtime in the playoffs in NHL and he did it in his second game.’” (Sportsnet)

–So who’s in the running for dad of the year? I’d give my vote to R.J. Umberger. That’s a pretty awesome playroom:

 

Rangers make changes after loss in Anaheim

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The scuffling New York Rangers — coming off a 6-3 loss Sunday in Anaheim, and with just two wins in their last seven — are expected to have a slightly different lineup tonight in San Jose.

Up front, winger Matt Puempel is likely to replace rookie Pavel Buchnevich. And on the back end, Dan Girardi will come in for Kevin Klein.

The Girardi-for-Klein switch is no huge surprise. Both d-men have been battling injuries, with Klein only returning Sunday after an extended absence due to back spasms. Head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters that he “didn’t want to put two injured defensemen in at the same time,” so Klein gets the night off tonight.

As for the potential scratching of Buchnevich, that decision would be slightly more controversial. The 21-year-old has two goals and three assists in his last 11 games, but clearly has not gained the full trust of his coach.

Henrik Lundqvist is expected to start in goal after a tough return to the net against the Ducks.

No Lundqvist, Nash or Grabner for banged-up Rangers tonight

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The Blueshirts are limping into this evening’s tilt with Carolina.

Starting netminder Henrik Lundqvist is sidelined with a lower-body injury. Leading goalscorer Michael Grabner will miss his fifth straight contest with a hip ailment. Alternate captain Rick Nash is out with a lingering upper-body issue.

So what sayeth you, J.T. Miller?

“People go down and people have to step into a different spot normally,” the Rangers’ leading scorer said, per the club website. “Just have to play like any other game.”

On their own, the losses are significant — but when piled on top of the guys New York was already without, it’s pretty overwhelming.

The Rangers were down the services of d-men Kevin Klein (back) and Dan Girardi (ankle), while versatile forward Jesper Fast is on the shelf with a separated shoulder.

As a result, head coach Alain Vingeault’s working with a patchwork lineup. The Chris KreiderDerek StepanMats Zuccarello line will remain intact, while Miller will jump to fill Nash’s spot alongside Pavel Buchnevich and Mika Zibanejad.

Matt Puempel, a healthy scratch recently, will draw back in and play alongside Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes. That leaves Tanner Glass, Oscar Lindberg and Brandon Pirri on the fourth line.

On defense, it’ll be Marc Staal, Ryan McDonagh, Brendan Smith, Nick Holden, Brady Skjei and Steve Kampfer.

Antti Raanta will get the start, while ECHL recall Brandon Halverson will back up.