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2019-20 Rangers

Zibanejad to return against Canes & play with Kreider and Buchnevich

4:52PM: David Quinn spoke after practice and said (NYR):

  • Is it 2 games or has the team turned, “when you win two games the way we did, it gives you a different feel but like I said last night when you put so many new people together, it takes time to create an identity, create cohesiveness and togetherness and we are moving forward and toward being a true team. We made big strides the past two nights.”
  • Did you see enough from Mika in practice, “yea, Mika looked good, felt good. Barring something crazy I think he will be ready tomorrow night.”
  • Mika with Buch and Kreider, “that is the plan and I’ll let you know after they spend some time together how much I like them.”
  • On Chytil, “another maintenance day.”
  • You want to keep Strome and Panarin together, “yes, I want to keep them together.”
  • Micheal Haley was on the wing, will he be with them, (Smiles) “we’ll see, I don’t want to hand Carolina every secret we have”
  • Would Chytil move to wing, “no.”
  • The centers will be Mika, Strome, Howden, Chytil in some order,“yes.”
  • What have you liked about Strome and Panarin, “a lot of points, offense, they seem to gel well together. Strome being a right shot and Bread being a left shot, he probably sees the puck a bit more. I just think there is a bit of cohesiveness with them and it allows them to be effective offensively.”
  • Did you foresee Panarin being this good, “I thought he would be impactful but it’s better than I envisioned, not just because of what we are seeing on the ice but, I’ve talked about this before, but what he brings away from the rink, his personality and how much he loves the game, he’s a great example for our young players.”
  • On not wanting to make comebacks frequently, “last night was a little different, it’s a 1-1 game in the third but I don’t want to get into the habit of being down 4-love. Over 82 games you probably see a bit of everything at some point and to do what we did these past two games…I think we lose that game three weeks ago. One of the things I didn’t think we had a lot of was energy, that might be schedule driven because you go back to back and then a day off coming back from Montreal and then play three in four nights, and the way that the game unfolded on Saturday night, not just how we’re playing but the mental highs and lows can be draining and I thought we did a really good job of managing a night where we didn’t have the amount of energy we usually need to have to win and I think that is a great sign.”
  • On what Mika’s return means, “the one thing about him, no matter what we are doing, he’s in a game-like mode. From practice to how he handles himself away from the rink, one of the things that our players can lean on is that he was a highly touted player who went through some growing pains his first few years and transformed himself into an elite player at this level. Not only what we get on the ice but we get another aspect we will need within our organization because we have so many young players. He can lend something to us when he’s not on the ice in that aspect but having him night in and night out gives everyone a bit more swagger. I know I mentioned that about Panarin but Mika gives us more energy and more swagger because he makes everyone feel better.”
  • On the record without him being good, “he and I had some fun about that (laugh), I did text him after one of the big wins and said ‘despite our record, we still want you back, so let’s accelerate this process.’ That is a thing we are proud of, 8-4-1 in that stretch and if you would have told me before the season that we were going to lose Mika Zibanejad for 13 games and go 8-4-1, I’d be surprised. Number one, the position he plays, because of our youth down the middle and because of what he means to our organization.”
  • Will Mika be eased in, “no, he’ll be ready to play.”
  • On the young players stepping up, “that is the thing that happened, Chytil took an opportunity and ran with him, Howden elevated his game, Strome elevated his game. We found chemistry with Panarin and Strome, so there are things that happened that you hope to happen when you lose a player of Mika’s caliber.”
  • Is Henrik in net, “yes, he’ll play tomorrow.”
  • How do you describe Brendan Lemieux as a player, “the first thing that would jump out to me is that he is a pain in the ass to play against which is what you want but he also has some skill. He shoots in hard, around the puck, can make a 5-foot pass and brings an awful lot to the table. He’s an agitator in a positive way, for our end of it, and stands up for his teammates.”
  • On Carolina, “we’ve seen some top lines before and we obviously know what happened when we went down there, Hank stole two points for us. I’m sure we will have an angry opponent tomorrow night. A team that is very consistent, one of the things that impress me about them is that they don’t take many nights off, if any, and they play at a pace, have an edge to their game. They have skill, good D-corps, we will have to be on our toes tomorrow because they are deep up front as well.”

1:30PM: Mika Zibanejad will return to the Rangers lineup tomorrow and skate between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich. (Mercogliano)

The other lines at practice today were (Albanese):


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  • Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast
  • Brendan Lemieux, Brett Howden, Kaapo Kakko
  • Micheal Haley, Boo Nieves, Brendan Smith

Filip Chytil missed practice with a maintenance day. (NYR)

Henrik Lundqvist will start in net. (Obernauer)