NEW YORK — Kevin Hayes heard some boos when he first touched the puck.

The boos then turned to cheers as the Rangers saluted Hayes and Alain Vigneault during the first period of Sunday's game against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden.

The tributes were nicely done by New York.

Vigneault coached the Rangers from 2013-18, leading them to a 2014 Stanley Cup Final appearance, 31 postseason victories and 226 regular-season wins before being fired in April 2018.

Hayes played parts of his first five NHL seasons in New York. He was sent to the Jets at last year's trade deadline.

Both returned to MSG for the first time in a regular-season game Sunday (see story).

“I think I’ll always have a piece there," Hayes said Friday. "It’s kind of where I became a grown-up, honestly. I entered as a kid leaving college with not a lot of thoughts and I entered into New York City, the management there, the people that work behind the scenes, the equipment staff, they kind of helped me shape the person that I am today.”

Vigneault spent a year away from coaching in 2018-19 before taking over the Flyers this season.

"The Rangers did what they had to do," he said in September. "I wish them nothing but the best. I had a great five years there and I want them to have success against everybody but us."


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