Everyone has heard the saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That must be what Alain Vigneault was thinking when he decided to scratch Michael Del Zotto for Saturday’s game against the New Jersey Devils.
The New York Rangers played their best defensive game of this young season with Del Zotto out of the lineup. Del Zotto was suffering from the flu so Justin Falk jumped in to anchor the third pair with John Moore. Falk played well in his limited minutes including a fight against Tom Wilson. The Rangers defensive-zone coverage improved drastically against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. So Vigneault decided to keep the defense pairings the same.
Del Zotto has struggled so far this season. For a player with so much potential, it drives fans and coaches absolutely crazy when you see him make the same mistakes over and over again. He appears lost at times in his own zone and continues to look bad on the power play. He has gotten worse each year since having a phenomenal rookie season. Del Zotto needs to get his act together because he will be inserted back into the lineup sooner rather than later. He needs to learn this system and make smarter decisions when the puck is on his stick.
The Rangers defense will stay the same for the game tonight against the rival devils. Vigneault made the right decision by keeping the group that got him his first shutout as Rangers coach together for this tilt tonight.