Michael Del Zotto a healthy scratch again
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Michael Del Zotto was a healthy scratch again Wednesday night when the Rangers faced the Florida Panthers.
The struggling defenseman was replaced by Justin Falk.
Del Zotto was benched for three games earlier this month before returning a week ago in Dallas.
Asked if Del Zotto was scratched because of how he played in Monday's 5-0 loss in Tampa, coach Alain Vigneault said: "Combination of that and combination of who we're playing tonight. Just needed a little bit more bite back there. Falker brings us that."
Del Zotto, 23, has one goal and three assists in 19 games. He played 17:21 on Monday and was a minus-2.
Vigneault issued a challenge of sorts to Benoit Pouliot, who entered Wednesday night without a point in 11 straight games.
"You know, when you see him play, you see good skill set, good size, good skater that should have the ability to create some good offensive opportunities and hopefully bury a couple," Vigneault said of Pouliot, who entered last night with two goals and two assists in 24 games. "He's definitely at the crossroad in my estimation as far as his career and his opportunity here. You can only get so many kicks at the can in this league and he's getting a good look. He's getting a good opportunity -- except obviously he's not playing on the power play anymore -- but hopefully he'll be able to produce for us because we need some offensive production."
Derek Dorsett was scratched because of a sore wrist. Taylor Pyatt made his return from a concussion . . . The Rangers play at Boston Friday afternoon, then former coach John Tortorella returns to the Garden on Saturday afternoon with the Vancouver Canucks. Henrik Lundqvist will start against the Bruins. Cam Talbot is likely to start against the Canucks.