Rangers’ benched defenseman: ‘I’ve been playing pretty well’


TAMPA, Fla. — Brendan Smith doesn’t lack confidence.

As the Rangers made the rugged defenseman a wholesome scratch for the third time this season with Thursday evening’s 2-1 time beyond regulation win in opposition to the Lightning at Amalie Arena, he hardly thought his recreation was mired in any sort of funk.

“I like where my game’s at,” Smith stated Thursday morning, having gotten simply two shifts within the third interval of their earlier recreation, a 6-Four comeback win over the Golden Knights on Tuesday on the Garden. “I think I’ve been playing pretty well. I wasn’t totally happy with my last game, but there is always room for improvement.”

As Smith sat in opposition to Vegas, the Rangers scored 4 third-period targets to erase a Four-2 deficit. The same scenario occurred when Smith sat for giant elements of the crew’s comeback from a 5-1 deficit in opposition to the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Oct. 7, ultimately ending in a Eight-5 loss and him being in road garments for the next two video games.

Coach Alain Vigneault stated Smith “is a hard worker, he’s a real good person,” including that he had “a couple decisions in front of our net and a couple decisions with the puck” in opposition to the Golden Knights that had been “a bit more challenging.”

Smith noticed these moments as outliers, not indicative of the way in which he has been taking part in total.

“I felt like I’ve had a lot of really good games and a couple periods have got away from me,” Smith stated. “I just have to make sure that I have a lot of consistency to make sure that I stay in the lineup.”

Ryan Callahan and Rangers defenseman Steven Kampfer (47) struggle.AP

Captain Ryan McDonagh briefly skated with the extras — Smith, Paul Carey and backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec — after not practising with the crew Wednesday below the guise of “maintenance.” Vigneault declaratively stated an damage has not been the rationale for McDonagh’s substandard play, however he was hardly 100 % wholesome.

“He’s got some maintenance issues,” Vigneault stated. “That’s why he didn’t practice [Wednesday]. But like any hockey player, never 100 percent. But he’s fairly close.”

Smith was changed by Nick Holden, who had been scratched for Tuesday’s recreation and three of the previous seven. Holden performed most of his 20:11 alongside McDonagh, whereas Brady Skjei went with Kevin Shattenkirk and Marc Staal with Steven Kampfer, who obtained into two fights.

One of Kampfer’s fights was with J.T. Brown at three:01 of the third interval, apparently stemming from Alex Killorn going after somebody on the Rangers’ bench for an unclear motive.

“Boys will be boys,” Vigneault stated.

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