5:54PM: Brendan Lemieux and Libor Hajek are scratched and Colin Blackwell and Jack Johnson replace them. (MSG)
1:49PM: David Quinn spoke after the morning skate and said (NYR):
- On why a goal at a certain time can bring the team down, “I think we gotta continue to work on being mentally tougher. I think sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves, I thought we got off to a really good start the other night, we go up 1-0, do a good job killing the penalty. We give up a goal and next thing you know, it’s three. We have to do a better job of managing adversity and we have shown signs of coming out of it, but I thought we reverted back the other night and it really took the wind out of our sails. Although, at the end of the second I thought we had some chances to make it 3-2, which might have changed the game a bit, it might have made us feel better going into the third. Again, we just have to continue to work on moving forward, this is a game where things are going to happen and you are going to give up a goal every now and then, the other team is going to gain momentum and you need to do a better job of stopping it. Again, I thought there was some progress lately, but certainly the other night that wasn’t the case.”
- Why was Kinkaid the right choice, “I thought Kinkaid looked good. We went back and forth on whether to play Kinkaid the other night and decided to go with Georgie and I thought Kinkaid earned the opportunity to play today. He’s had a good track record against Pittsburgh, looked really good in practices and at this point in time, with Shesty’s situation, or even in general, you are going to need three goalies, not just two, because you never know from an injury standpoint. I think it’s important to get him into a game, but not just get him in to a game to get him in, he’s earned the opportunity to play. If we didn’t like what we saw, we wouldn’t come back with him. He’s looked good in practices, played well in two plus periods the other night and he has earned this opportunity.”
- Did the expectations he had for Alexis Lafreniere change, “No, not at all, I knew he was a super talented kid and was going to have success, but as we’ve all talked about, the last few years we’ve had kids his age come into this league and have their difficulties and he was going to be no different. Obviosuly we all recognize the talent and skill set, but that said, it’s a man’s league and it’s a huge, huge jump from where he was to where he is right now and he is learning on the go and he continues to improve and we’ve all witnessed it and the things he is doing a better job of. It’s a balancing act for people to be patient with him, but also have realistic expectations for him.”
- On the defensive structure and how it impacts offense, “I think maybe, but I also know that if you look at some of these expected goal categories, our shooting percentage is the lowest in the NHL, we weren’t taking advantage of some of the chances we had. I think it might have been a combination of the two. When you are a little bit more structured and not playing a wide-open game, you’re chances might go down a little bit, but it’s a better recipe for winning hockey. I think we’ve lost that a little bit, I don’t think we are as structured right now, I think maybe we maybe abandoned that to a certain degree, we are giving up more chances and initial rush stuff, which we hadn’t done in the first 15-16 games. It’s always a balancing act. I thought we found that in the last two months last year. I rarely talk about our youth, but I think that because of our youth we are going to continue to fight that battle of balancing defensive responsibilities, but also playing offense.
11:36AM: Keith Kinkaid will start for the Rangers tonight against the Penguins. (NYR)
Igor Shesterkin was skating during the Rangers morning skate. Today will be his third straight day on the ice after suffering a groin strain on Thursday. (NYR)