Justin Falk did nothing to deserve his being taken out of the Rangers lineup.

That was the sentiment from coach Alain Vigneault before Thursday night’s 3-2 win over the Stars at the American Airlines Center, a game in which he replaced Falk with mercurial young defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

“Really like the way [Falk] played for us in those couple games there,” said Vigneault, who had made Del Zotto a healthy scratch for the past three games. “I just feel like against Dallas, a puck-moving defenseman was a little bit more what we need. ”

Del Zotto, who registered one shot on goal, played 15:30 while on a third pair with John Moore, who scored a goal. Vigneault, seemingly in a rush to catch a plane for Nashville for Saturday’s game against the Predators, didn’t have all that much to say about Del Zotto’s performance afterward.
“I thought he was all right,” Vigneault said. “No complaints.”

The benching was a rude awakening for Del Zotto, and he now understands more fully that under this first-year head coach, any good he did in the past is worthless.