The start of Taylor Pyatt's Rangers career couldn't have gone better. Three goals and two assists in his first eight games and a spot on the first line alongside Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.
But that was as good as it got for Pyatt as he tallied just one point (a goal) in the next 34 games and found himself buried on the fourth line barely playing five minutes a game.
That was until John Tortorella bumped him up to the third line with Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello after the Brian Boyle injury. Since then, Pyatt has a three game point streak (1g, 2a), which included a huge goal yesterday that helped seal the Rangers victory against the Devils...
Here's Tortorella on Pyatt...
"I use (Pyatt) when we're protecting a lead. He has done some really good things there. As far as his overall game I think it's been an up and down year for him. He's a good guy on the wall. Always has been right on through here. It's good he gets a couple of chances. He's a big part of that line. That line has played well along with Richards and Zuccarello."
Pyatt on stepping up his play during the stretch run (via Bergen Record)...
“Playing the most important games, you always want to play your best hockey. It feels like the last games, my game was improving and scoring tonight definitely helps.”
...while Pyatt has deserved every piece of criticism he's received on this blog for his poor play this season, if he can continue this renaissance in the final three games and into the playoffs it will be a tremendous boost for the Rangers. Pyatt has been a part of a couple deep playoff runs in his career so he knows what it takes to be successful in the postseason. One of which is peaking at the right time, which it looks like he's doing.
...i'd say the only person not excited about Pyatt's improved play is Asham, who looks like the odd man out once Boyle and Dorsett are healthy.
...with all the line changes this season, Torts eventually had to come up aces, but he derserves credit for the current combinations, which have really clicked. Having said that, when I first saw the Pyatt-Richards-Zucc line I couldn't have been less excited. Richards and Pyatt were struggling mightily and Zuccarello's playmaking seemed wasted. But that's the funny thing about chemistry, you never know when or how it'll show up.
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