Lundqvist in net against Vegas and other updates

Henrik Lundqvist will start in net for the Rangers against Vegas on Monday. (NYR)

Jesper Fast, who was banged up on Saturday against NJ, is a game-time decision after missing the morning skate. (NYR)

Vegas, 4-5-1 in their last 10, will start Malcolm Subban in net. (VGK)


Rangers coach David Quinn spoke with the media after the morning skate and said (NYR):

  • On Jesper Fast not skating, “a little bit of maintenance but will be a game time decision.”
  • Does Boo go into his spot if he can’t play, “we’ve been kicking a lot of scenarios around, so we will see.”
  • What about Kakko did you like on Saturday, “there was a pace, physicality to his game, playing with conviction, a lot of things he hadn’t been doing in the d-zone he was doing, he did a good job of getting to the walls when he needed to, in the offensive zone he was playing at a pace and his level of engagement in all three zones.”
  • Do you think Kakko stay with Strome and Panarin, “I know I will keep him with Strome and Panarin tonight.”
  • On Brendan Lemieux with Mika, “I just wanted to give that line a bit of a different look. Brendan brings a consistent edge to his game and we were looking to see what the lineup would look like with more balance, something we were talking about doing when Mika came back, see what happens tonight.”
  • Is it on Panarin to get slumping players better, “as much as that is part of it, the fact that Kakko was on that line gave him a little more swagger and a bit of a jolt. Panarin will make you a better player no matter who I put on that line, I think he has always taken that responsibility whether it’s a conscious one or not.”
  • On Zibanejad since returning, “the one thing that really jumps out at me is his conditioning, he has an iron lung. To play the amount of minutes he played after being out so long and his energy doesn’t drop at all. He’s in fabulous shape and not many guys can skate with him in this league and he made two great plays on the shorthanded goals but there was more to his game, I thought he played a complete game.”
  • On Marc Staal, “closer and closer, day to day. Had another good day today, I think we are nearing him getting back in the lineup.”
  • What will the lineup be when Staal is ready, “see how these other six are going, they all have to earn their keep. The D-corp has played well, good balance with all three pairings and address that topic when we have to.”
  • On Brendan Smith, “obviously if anything happens from an injury standpoint you have that flexibility, he plays forward 5 on 5 but he’s one of our better PK defensemen. He gives you flexibility on the roster which is nice game in and game out.”
  • On the team mindset, “we are getting close to the point in the season where everything is figuring out what they have and where they are as a team and I think we have put ourselves in a good position over the last 15-16 games. We want to continue to make life difficult for our opponent, yet easier for ourselves and one of the things that has happened when we’ve struggled is we have made it difficult on ourselves. You can’t take 8 penalties and 15 minutes in PK time, it’s just not a recipe for success. One of the things we touched on is puck management and understanding situational hockey and turnovers through the neutral zone. If we can continue to clean those up and continue to have 5 man gaps and 5 man packs, we will give ourselves a chance night in and night out.”
  • On Brendan Lemieux’s style, “it’s a learning process for every player that plays on the edge like he does. He’s done a pretty good job of it, I know his PIM are high but a few fights will do that. I think he is still learning that balancing act but he continues to get better at it.”
  • Can Lemieux play anywhere in the lineup, “I think he has that ability, he made a great play on the shorthanded goal by Zibanejad, I think he gave that line some pace and physicality. I think he’s good enough to play with those top players.”
  • Lundqvist tonight, “yes.”
  • Why Lundqvist tonight, “it’s a three game decision, we are going back to back, so it was which game do we want Georgie to play. So Hank will play tonight and then not again until Friday.”
  • On the PP against NJ, “our pace was much better, our desire to shoot pucks is still frustrating but our pace was much better, we looked threatening, it was definitely a different feel to it.”
  • On the shooting mentality, “honestly, I think it’s generational and you talk to other coaches and people at the lower levels from college to junior. I don’t know why, I don’t know if people want the highlight reel goals and tap ins, I think throughout hockey it’s becoming less and less of a priority and guys want the pretty goals. You gotta shoot the puck, it’s a mindset more than anything. Guys that are shooters have already shot it before they get it, they know the opportunity is there before they get the opportunity to shoot it. Unfortunately, right now we aren’t there yet. You can look at all the analytics and all the shot attempt stuff, for us it can be misleading because we aren’t a team that shoots enough. If you pass up an opportunity to shoot one time, there might be two other shots that come from it and if that happens 5-6 times in a game, that is 8-10 more shots on net you are going to get. These are things we have to continue to touch on and ask our players to be aware of.”
  • Doesn’t the PK impact the shots for the PP, “you are talking about the PP specifically, I’m talking about 5-on-5 in general, but yea. One of the things that I think really has to happen is that once you’ve made that cross ice pass, you have to be in a shooting mindset. As PKers you don’t want the puck to cross that line, you want to keep the play on one side of the ice but every time that puck crosses, you have to be ready to shoot it. That doesn’t mean it’s the right play but you have to be in a shooting mode. You can always pass out of a shooting mode, but if you aren’t ready to shoot it, you are only doing one thing. You always want to be in a position to be able to do one of two things, so if I’m on that flank as a lefty and the pass goes top of the circle to top of the circle, you have to have a shooting mindset. That doesn’t mean you are going to shoot it but you have to be in a shooting mindset. If that’s not the right play you can always pass out of it.”
  • Did the comeback over Montreal give the team confidence, “yea, like I said that night, one of the things that happened in that game,  it was really the first time throughout the season that we were in a mindset of handling adversity. I think we have handled adversity from game to game but that felt different. We came off the ice down 3-0 and it felt a little unfair because we played a good first period, our intentions were right, our pace was good and we are down 3-0. One of the things we talked about after the first period was don’t play the score, if you do the right thing over and over again the game will reward you and I felt that is what happened and it was a sign of some of the things we are going to need moving forward. Within a game you need to be mentally tough and you need to have resiliency.”