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Possible Defensive Pairing Changes; Talbot to Start vs. Wild

The Rangers are reporting some lineup changes on defense at practice this afternoon as John Moore was paired with Raphael Diaz, while Kevin Klein skated with Justin Falk.

Both Moore and Diaz practiced on the second power play unit.

Also at practice, Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards received maintenance days today, so the forward lines were jumbled.

Alain Vigneault said with Zuccarello and Richards not on ice today it gave him a "great opportunity" to see Diaz practice on the power play.

Vigneault added that he's unsure which six defenseman will dress in Minnesota tomorrow.

…it's no secret that the defense, which has been one of the main reasons for the Rangers resurgence since December, has struggled since the Olympic break, highlighted by last night's abysmal performance from Stralman and Staal. Having said that, I hope AV sticks with the current pairings for another game. All season long the Rangers have been able to bounce back from bad losses, especially on the road, so I'd hate to see AV over think things the way he did with the Carcillo scratch last night and insert a defenseman who hasn't played a single game in a Rangers uniform unnecessarily.

Last night, Vigneault juggled his forwards in-game for the second time in three contests as he formed lines of St. Louis-Stepan-Nash and Kreider-Richards-Derek Dorsett, while Hagelin was benched.

…while I'm in favor of keeping the consistency on defense, I do agree with AV's need to tweak the lines. He must find a way to get St. Louis, Nash and Richards scoring on a consistent basis or last night will become the norm instead of the exception.

…i wouldn't mind seeing a veteran line of St. Louis-Richards-Nash and a kid line of Kreider-Stepan-Hagelin.

The Rangers also noted that Cam Talbot will get the start tomorrow.

…with back to backs in Minnesota and Winnipeg, Talbot was obviously going to get one of these games. The Jets home area aka 'The Peg' is a notoriously difficult place to play, so I wonder if AV wanted his veteran goaltender for that game.

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Kevin

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