Ondrej Pavelec, New York Rangers, NHL
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

As the new year comes to a close, the New York Rangers returned from the Christmas break making a statement with some help from an unlikely source.

Depth players coming up with impact games have been a common theme for the this New York Rangers team this season and it continued this past week.

With the Rangers receiving tough news on the injury front losing Jesper Fast and Chris Kreider for extended periods of time, they turned to their role players and they didn’t disappoint. These contributions are giving fans hope that they can survive an injury plagues week.

So here they are, the New York Rangers three stars of the week.

3. Vinni Lettieri 

Scoring your first NHL goal is great, but doing it in your first NHL game is even better.

Lettieri had an impressive pre-season for the Rangers and some thought that he deserved to make the team out of training camp. Despite starting the year in Hartford, Lettieri didn’t let his demotion bother him and put up quality numbers for the Wolf Pack. He put 21 points (12 goals) in his time in the AHL and is off to a good start in the NHL.

If the 22-year-old rookie can be a serviceable player he may be able to stick around for the remainder of the season. He will get his chance with Jesper Fast and Chris Kreider out and it will only be a bonus if he finds the back of the net on a consistent basis.

2. David Desharnais

David Desharnais is the Rangers number two center and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere.

While Mika Zibanejad was out with his concussion, Desharnais filled in nicely for the Blueshirts centering the top line, and now he’s putting up consistent numbers. The idea of this is mind-boggling considering the emergence of Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller throughout the season, but Desharnais continues to produce.

His goal against the Detroit Red Wings was his fourth of the season and his 19th point. He ranks eighth on the team with him playing three fewer games than the team leader Mats Zuccarello.

1. Ondrej Pavelec

The Rangers might have a legitimate backup goaltender after all.

The work the Ondrej Pavelec has put in with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire is starting to pay off. His 30 saves Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals secured his first shutout of the season and his third win in six starts.

Pavelec has made 141 saves in his last five games and during that span, he has allowed just seven goals. It appears that head coach Alain Vigneault is starting to have faith in the 30-year-old goaltender and is ready to start giving him some more starts.

Honorable Mentions

  • Rick Nash: He didn’t put up any points this week, but he was dominant in the Rangers shootout victory over the Capitals.
  • Jimmy Vesey: One assist in the Rangers two games this week.
Dominick is a graduate of Canisius College. He has covered the Rangers for the last seven seasons and the Yankees for the last four.