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Yandle, Sheppard continue to rise with Rangers

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Keith Yandle continues to come up big for Rangers, scoring the second goal of Game 6 to put the Blueshirts up 2-0.Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Keith Yandle continues to come up big for Rangers, scoring the second goal of Game 6 to put the Blueshirts up 2-0.

TAMPA — Keith Yandle’s rise in recent games has been no secret, but a fellow trade-deadline acquisition joined him in coming up huge in the Rangers’ 7-3 Game 6 victory over the Lightning Tuesday night.

Yandle scored the Rangers’ second goal of the game, a point shot that put them up, 2-0, late in the first period. And depth forward James Sheppard scored his first goal of the playoffs at 6:00 of the third period to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead.

Yandle’s nine assists and 11 points are career playoff highs. He has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the last four games.

Alain Vigneault said Tuesday morning that he had wanted the defenseman to get more pucks to the net.

“He’s working extremely hard,” the coach said of Yandle. “He’s trying to make some plays. Obviously, you know, with the pressure sometimes our ‘D’ are under — a little bit more challenging to make the right play. But he’s got the right idea.”

Sheppard didn’t play in the entire first round, entering the lineup only after Mats Zuccarello took a slap shot to the head in Game 5 against the Penguins. His fourth line had been playing well until a rough Game 5, but bounced back Tuesday. The Rangers’ fourth line had five shots on goal, second only to the top line’s 18.

Vigneault called the Rangers’ five-goal third period their best of the series.

“The message was pretty clear going into the third period — we wanted to establish our forecheck,” Derick Brassard said. “We wanted to try to play in the offensive zone. We don’t want to sit back against that team because if you sit back against those guys they’re gonna pick you apart. We were hungry on the forecheck, created some turnovers, and we made some plays. That third goal I think was a big moment.”

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