New York Rangers: Alain Vigneault's lineup 'tweak' pays dividends
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Alain Vigneault’s decision to change things in the lineup paid off as the Rangers defeated the Kings Friday night.

Alain Vigneault may take a lot of criticism about the decisions he makes, but the lineup changes he made, though small, paid off in the end on Friday night.

The coach swapped Rick Nash and Michael Grabner, creating two new lines that looked like this:

Rick Nash – J.T. Miller – Mats Zuccarello

Michael Grabner – Kevin Hayes – Jesper Fast

Matt Calamia of spoke with Vigeanult about the swap. “Grabs has been one of our best offensive players in the last few games, as far as getting chances and finishing. I just wanted to make a little tweak. Nasher’s been getting some good looks and maybe with J.T. and Zuccy he’ll be able to finish off a couple of those.”

The new lines skated extremely well and the moves paid off. Hayes scored to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead off of an assist from Grabner.

Late in the third period, with the game tied at two, Nash scored the game-winner as he beat Johnathan Quick low on the stick side to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

Vigneault’s simple but effective change in the lineup resulted in two goals for Rangers. Two goals they may not have otherwise scored. An important sidebar to that statistic is both of these goals were scored at even strength. For the night, the two new lines combined for two goals and an assist. Most importantly, the team picked up a much-needed win in what has been a tough week for the Rangers.

Sometimes it’s the benchings and messages sent by the coaching staff that gets a team motivated to play better. Other times a subtle move can get the same results. Regardless of how the team finds ways to win, Vigneault will need to keep tweaking things to keep pace with the opposition.

A graduate of St. John's University class of '91. I have been a fan of the New York Rangers since the days of Peter Puck. Founder of Ranger Proud, the Facebook page that covers all news, notes, pre /post-game stats, and player quotes. I can be reached at