Alain Vigneault wanted more from Kevin Hayes.
The past two games, he’s received it.
“He’s been going to the tougher areas, that’s how he scored his goal [against Washington],” Vigneault told NHL.com ahead of tonight’s game against the Bruins.
“He’s made a couple nice plays with the puck. He’s protected it better. I sense a better battle level when he has the puck and when he doesn’t have it, which is good to see. Hopefully it will continue.”
Hayes had been a healthy scratch the previous two games, with Vigneault saying that the 23-year-old forward had “great tools” but needed to “find a way to put it all together.”
The past two games, the Rangers have also been playing better as a team. They smoked Dallas, 6-2, on Tuesday, then fought back from a 2-0 deficit against the Capitals Saturday, eventually falling 4-3 in overtime.
“This was taking a step forward as a team,” Vigneault told reporters afterwards. “We battled back from a two-goal deficit against one of the best defensive teams in the league, one of the goaltenders that had been hard on a lot of teams. We were real close to getting it done.”