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The Rangers' top three defensemen—Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi and Marc Staal—are outstanding.
The other three—Anton Stralman, Kevin Klein and John Moore—are a bit more suspect.
Coach Alain Vigneault expressed his concern about Stralman and Klein to Pat Leonard of The New York Daily News:
I do think they both can be a little bit better and they have to be a little bit better. I agree with that. A big part of our game is coming up clean, coming up together and making that first initial pass beating that forecheck. That’s when we’re at our best. That’s when we’re getting something on the rush, and then once we’re in the zone, then we can create a little bit more. But to do that you need that good first pass, and those guys have been a little bit off, and they need to be better...
Stralman, of the three, needs to get better the fastest. He plays on the second pair with Marc Staal. He plays the most minutes of the three and sees the best players. He played better against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, but he needs to be consistently better.
Klein, whom the Rangers acquired from Nashville in exchange for Michael Del Zotto, needs to pick things up. At his best, he's a simple, no-nonsense defender. Not flashy, but he gets the job done. Lately, however, he hasn't been getting the job done. After playing 18 minutes against the Boston Bruins last Sunday, Klein played just 12 minutes against the Toronto Maple Leafs, 13 minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes and just under 15 minutes against Detroit.
The Rangers cannot rely on three defenders. The other three will need to play and play well. If they don't, it could spell trouble.