New York Hockey: Taylor Pyatt

Pyatt rewarded, Richards keeps rolling

April, 22, 2013
Pyatt-RichardsAP Photo/Seth WenigPyatt (left) celebrates his second-period goal with Richards on Sunday.
Ultimately, it was an injury that earned Taylor Pyatt a promotion from fourth-line duty for the surging Rangers.

After Brian Boyle was sidelined last week, the 32-year-old winger found himself on a line with veteran center Brad Richards and diminutive Norwegian forward Mats Zuccarello.

Since then, Pyatt has picked up his game, performing the dirty work along the boards and battling behind the net.

Sunday night, he was rewarded with his first goal in 27 games. Before Pyatt’s pivotal second-period marker -- a game-changer that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead en route to the team’s 4-1 win ober the Devils -- he had not found the back of the net since Feb. 26.

For the hard work Pyatt put forth, he was due.

“I’ve used [Pyatt] when we’re protecting a lead,” coach John Tortorella said. “He has done some really good things for us as far as his overall game. It’s been an up and down year for him, but he’s a good guy along the wall…he’s a big part of that line and that line has played well.”

A big part of that has been the play-making ability of Richards, who has four goals and seven points in the last three games.

Richards intercepted a Devils’ pass before dishing off to Pyatt above the right circle for his linemate's slump-snapping goal on Sunday; later in the game he set up captain Ryan Callahan for his second helper of the night.

An inconsistent performer this season, Richards seems to be hitting his stride at the right time. It started with a goal and an assist in the team’s 6-1 rout of the Panthers Thursday -- he had previously been held off the score sheet for four straight games – and continued with an 8-4 win against the Sabres the next night, during which Richards netted his first hat trick in 896 career games.

“He’s looking great. Past couple of weeks, he’s making some great plays,” said goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. “It seems like he’s reading the game really well -- scoring a lot of goals and setting up guys for goals, so he’s heating up at the right time. It’s great to see.”

Lundqvist made his 12th consecutive start Sunday night, another 60-minute effort on top of an already heavy workload. He will likely make at least two more before the season’s over, possibly all three, depending on the playoff implications that arise.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, who played only 62 of 82 games last season, hasn't had the luxury of rest this year.

Lundqvist has sat out only five of 45 games with the Rangers fighting for the eighth and last playoff spot in the East.

“All I do right now is prepare and recover from games,” Lundqvist said. “All my focus is just hockey. In a normal season, it’s a little different, but right now it’s all about hockey and it feels like the playoffs have been going on for a couple of weeks now.”

Lundqvist said he has deferred the decision on whether he starts or rests to Tortorella. He knows he can't trust himself to spurn the option to play.

“I told him, ‘I can’t make that call. It’s up to you,'” Lundqvist said. “I can’t say ‘no’, but it’s a lot of fun to be out there right now, with all the excitement and we’re playing well as a group as well.”

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Rangers face the Panthers in Florida on Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Bruins 3 (OT)

January, 23, 2013

What it means: In a rematch of Saturday's season opener, the Rangers earned their first win of the season on the shoulders of Marian Gaborik, who scored a hat trick and won the game with a breakaway goal 27 seconds into overtime, 4-3. Gaborik tallied his first two as the Rangers jumped out to a hot start in the first period and the 29-year-old winger re-established his scoring touch in overtime, beating Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to help the Rangers improve to 1-2-0 on the season.

Bad trade: Boston's Nathan Horton knotted the game at 3 with 4:23 to play as each team skated four a side, the result of a bad trade for the Blueshirts. On Horton's equalizer, Rick Nash was relegated to the box after being whistled for a concurrent penalty with Boston's Chris Kelly. It was Horton's first goal in over a year since suffering a season-ending concussion last January.

Loading up: Hoping to ignite a Rangers squad that looked out of sorts in the first two games, coach John Tortorella placed Gaborik up on the top line with power tandem Brad Richards and Nash. The move paid dividends early as Gaborik tallied two goals in a span of 2:13 early in the first. Gaborik has previously skated on a line with center Derek Stepan and captain Ryan Callahan.

The first of Gaborik’s pair of goals was set up by a beautiful tip pass from Richards and a crisp, cross-ice feed by Nash to connect with Gaborik on the rush.

Taylor-made: One of the team’s better players through the first two games, Taylor Pyatt notched his second goal of the season. 46 seconds after Milan Lucic tied the game in the second, Pyatt backhanded the puck past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask to reclaim the Rangers' one-goal lead.

Limited ice time: Pyatt replaced Chris Kreider on the second line as the 22-year-old rookie got demoted to the fourth. Kreider, whose defensive responsibility has been a point of emphasis for the coaching staff, played only one shift in the second period after taking a hooking penalty late in the first.

Break on through: The Bruins snapped an unsightly 0-for-11 power play skid with a man-up goal in the second period. With Rangers defenseman Marc Staal in the box for slashing, the Bruins cut a 2-0 lead in half just 1:05 into play when Brad Marchand tipped in rookie Dougie Hamilton’s slapshot. Picking up an assist on the play, Hamilton, a former first-round draft pick, registered his first NHL point for the Bruins.

Day-to-day: Arron Asham sat out Wednesday’s game with a mild groin strain suffered in the Rangers’ 6-3 loss to the Penguins on Sunday. Asham’s injury is believed to be minor; Tortorella said he is “day-to-day.”

Eminger added: Depth defenseman Steve Eminger appeared in his first game of the 2013 season after sitting out as a healthy scratch for the first two games. With defenseman Stu Bickel moved to forward in Asham’s absence, Eminger slotted in on the third pair with Anton Stralman.

Up Next: Rangers at Flyers, Thursday at 7 p.m.

Rangers add Taylor Pyatt

July, 3, 2012
Since Zach Parise issued his "no way" to the Rangers, the Blueshirts won't be twiddling their thumbs while the rest of the NHL waits for his big decision.

New York agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth $3.1 million with former Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Coyotes 3 (SO)

December, 16, 2010

Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: The Rangers won for the third straight game as they bested the Coyotes in the shootout, 4-3, Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers (20-13-1) never led in regulation, rallying from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits for the win.

BIRON THE STOPPER: The Rangers only scored once in the shootout, on a goal by Eric Christensen, but goalie Martin Biron made it hold up. Biron stopped Lee Stempniak, Radim Vrbata and Eric Belanger in order to seal the win. His most impressive stop came against Vrbata as Biron used a kick save with his left leg to prevent the goal. Belanger didn't even manage a shot on the final attempt.

While Biron emerged a hero, it didn't seem likely at the beginning. He allowed two goals in the first six minutes and the fans started chanting "Henrik! Henrik!" for Rangers starting goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Biron, though, settled down and made some big saves to keep the Rangers in the game down the stretch. He saved 30-of-33 shots.

"I look at Marty Biron just as that's a capsule of how we play," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "After a start with people chanting for (Lundqvist), it's a hard thing and he battled through it and made some key saves at some times and found a way to win which was an important part of it at the end with the shootout."

FIRST ONE IS MEMORABLE: Derek Stepan finally scored his first goal at Madison Square Garden and it came at great timing as the rookie tied the game with 5:43 remaining. With the Rangers trailing 3-2, Michael Rozisval took a deep shot that Stepan believed deflected off Sean Avery to Phoenix goalie Jason LaBarbera. With the puck lying under LaBarbera's knee pad, Chris Drury knocked it from its lodging to Stepan who put home his eighth goal of the season.

"It's the first one so it's definitely special," Stepan said. "That's a big time goal, I think tying the game up that was the first thought, hey that's a big-time goal in a 3-2 game."

HOW TO HUSTLE: Brandon Prust’s incredible display of hustle to close the second period netted the Rangers their second goal and changed the whole complexion of the game.

With the Coyotes on the power play at the close of the second period and leading 3-1, Dan Girardi, who scored the Rangers first goal on a power play in the first period, cleared the puck and Prust raced after it at the other end. LaBarbera was not able to control the puck in the corner as Prust approached retreated back to the goal. Prust took the puck and raced toward the goal, where LaBarbera was unsettled, and beat the Coyotes goalie for the score with 5.1 seconds left in the second period.

Said Prust: "Going into the third period only down one instead of two, it's a big difference."

COYOTE POWER: The Rangers entered the game having held opponent scoreless on their last 56-of-63 power play attempts, but allowed goals on 2-of-4 power plays for Phoenix. Phoenix scored its first and third goal on power plays.

THE STREAK LIVES ON: The Rangers are still unbeaten in the second game of back-to-back contest. The Rangers are now 9-0-0 in the second games, including 4-0-0 at home. The Rangers are now 18-2-2 in the second game of a doubleheader over the past two seasons.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rangers head to Philadelphia Saturday night to take on the Atlantic Division leading Flyers. The Flyers, who lead the Rangers by six points in the division, bested New York 4-1 the last time the two teams meet on Nov. 4 in Philadelphia.