6:45PM: David Quinn spoke before the game on Tuesday and said (NYR):
- Any lineup changes, “Georgie will be in net.”
- What do you have to do to not trade chances, “number one, our gap control. I was surprised how easily Florida walked up the ice, any time they have a puck in their own they are able to establish the offensive zone without a lot of pushback from us. When we are playing to our strength we are on top of people, have good gaps from our defensemen leaving the offensive zone and able to stay on top of people. We are going to have that mentality tonight if we are going to slow these guys down.”
- How do you evaluate young player ice time, “to me it’s all about intentions. Mistakes are going to happen but what are your intentions, trying to do something you aren’t supposed to be doing or are you trying to do the right thing and it just doesn’t happen, who you are up against. If you go into a corner against Barkov and you are 20-30 pounds lighter and you lose a 1-on-1 battle, those are the things you have to understand and give the guy a break. There is a lot that goes into that when evaluating young players or any player for that matter. That is something we as a staff have to constantly remind ourselves of.”
- On bringing up a defenseman for the road trip, “I feel comfortable with Smitty and really haven’t thought too much about it, kind of dialed in on Pitt.”
- Are you concerned Mika could be out long-term, “I don’t think it’s long-term, I don’t have a date but I don’t think it’s long-term.”
2PM: The Rangers (7-6-2) host the Pittsburgh Penguins (10-6-1) at MSG tonight with Alex Georgiev in net.
The Rangers are 5-2-2 in their last nine games and will be without Mika Zibanejad for the seventh straight game.
While David Quinn said Monday that he isn’t sure about his forwards (whether Micheal Haley comes back in) that the defense will remain the same with:
- Libor Hajek, Jacob Trouba
- Brady Skjei, Tony DeAngelo
- Ryan Lindgren, Adam Fox
Artemi Panarin has 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) during his eight game point streak, Ryan Strome has points in 9 of the last 10 (5 goals, 9 assists), Adam Fox has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) during his four game point streak and Tony DeAngelo has five points (1 goal, 4 assists) during his four game point streak.
The Penguins will be without Sidney Crosby (lower body injury) and Matt Murray (9-3-1) will start in net.
Jared McCann (5 goals, 5 assists) will replace Crosby the Pens first line with Alex Galchenyuk (3 assists in 8 games) and Jake Guentzel (8 goals, 6 assists).
Adam Rotter: This is another game where we hope to see the Rangers respond to Sunday’s, in every sense of the word, shootout against the Panthers. Even without Sidney Crosby the Penguins have a ton of talent and players that can move the puck quickly to create offense, so the Rangers need to make sure they manage the puck well, get it in deep and play the style that helped them beat Tampa Bay and Nashville. The Rangers just can’t play a back and forth kind of game and expect to win. They have too much youth and are still too error prone to play a game like that.
I thought Henrik Lundqvist might start tonight before yielding the net to Alex Georgiev on Thursday against Tampa. Lundqvist was great against Detroit and Carolina but, like the rest of the team, not as sharp against the Panthers. Short of Georgiev winning tonight and against Tampa, I’d expect Lundqvist back in net against the Panthers, in Florida, on Saturday.
The Mika Zibanejad situation is both frustrating and confusing. The Rangers have said that it’s not head or concussion related, just that it’s upper body and David Quinn once mentioning it being in the neck area. Ryan Strome has been terrific with Artemi Panarin and will surely continue playing with him when Zibanejad comes back, and while Filip Chytil has been scoring and playing well since he returned, the Rangers are a better and deeper team when Mika is between Kreider and Buchnevich. Hopefully Zibanejad is ready to play when the Rangers return from Florida and have a few days before facing Washington next Wednesday.