Entering tonight’s game against Montreal, Derek Stepan has points in three straight games and points in four of his last five.
Stepan has two goals and two assists in the past five games and led all Ranger forwards in ice time against the Senators with 26:21. The 26:21 that he played was a career high for Stepan.
Prior to the game, Joe Micheletti talked about how during Stepan’s slow start to the season, he was the first Ranger to go to the coaching staff and ask for help. He adds that Stepan is, “a kid with a high hockey IQ that is extremely coachable. He is a wonderful passer and this year he has gotten stronger so he can hold onto pucks and make plays.
Dave Maloney added, “the stronger he gets , the smarter he gets the better hockey player he will be.”
Recently, Stepan told the Rangers website, that the improvements in his game have had a lot to do with his line mates, “I got two wingers that are dynamic players. They have done so much that has helped my growth as a center. I try to keep my game as simple as possible and just let them make plays. They have been doing it on a regular basis. I am doing whatever I can is to anchor them down the middle.”
Carl Hagelin said, “he is doing a great job this year. He is even better defensively than he was last year. He is a guy with great hockey sense and he does everything out there 100% and does it well. He does a great job getting us the puck.”
Stepan is averaging 20:20 this season and has three goals and nine assists.
During his struggles at the start of the season, John Tortorella remarked that he believed Stepan would break through.