Benoit Pouliot is a typical journeyman hockey player. He was a high draft pick in the NHL draft but has struggled to find his niche in the league. He has been on five different teams in his eight-year career. He was struggling mightily with the New York Rangers for the majority of this season. He has been in and out of the lineup a few different times. But over the last four games, Pouliot is starting to heat up and making a difference on the scoreboard.
It all started with the Rangers game against the Calgary Flames. He recorded one assist but the play of the game occurred in the shootout. Pouliot pulled off the Peter Forseberg move of getting the goalie to go to one side and then sliding it by him with one hand. Rangers’ announcer Joe Michelleti said his skill is the reason the coaches keep giving him a shot. In these last four games, he has recorded a point in every game.
Tonight, Pouliot scored a huge goal for the Rangers. They had gone down early to the Minnesota Wild and the crowd was getting ready to turn on the Rangers. On the power play Pouliot tipped a beautiful pass by Ryan McDonagh into the net and the Rangers never looked back from there.
Pouliot is also starting to find some chemistry with line mates, something that he hasn’t been able to do this season. Alain Vigneault has paired Pouliot with the speedy Carl Hagelin and young two-way center J.T. Miller. While it is risky to put an inconsistent player like Pouliot with Miller, it has seemed to work so far. The trio worked very well together and were arguably the Rangers’ best line against the Wild.
As I just mentioned, Pouliot is known to be inconsistent. This is the main reason he has been bounced around between so many teams despite his immense talent. If Pouliot can continue to play well and score, it will be huge for this Rangers team. It is good to see that Pouliot is heating up though.