2020-21 Rangers

What Kris Knoblauch said after the win over Buffalo

Acting Head Coach Kris Knoblauch spoke after the win over Buffalo and said (MSG, NHL Media):

  • What has impressed you about their resiliency, “I’m impressed with how much fun they are playing the game and how hard they are working and they’ve been able to maintain that for a while. There have been ups and downs, especially the first five minutes of the second period where Kinkaid comes up huge with some big saves, but they seem really resilient and nothing is phasing them right now. We did have a 3-1 lead and guys could have been upset and really worried, playing tight, but they didn’t, they just continued to play on. Same thing the other night in Washington where it almost looked like it would be a repeat of the first night, we have a lead, playing really well, we give up a goal again and they tie it up, but they continue to play and that is what you want to see from the team.”

  • On moving Kaapo to the Strome and Panarin line, “A few things, the way Kaps has been playing the last 3-4 games, we felt he was ready for more responsibility, that is first and most important thing, how well he’s been playing. A couple of other things was, we actually planned this before the game, mixing up the lines a little bit and giving him some extra ice time when the opportunity arises and we felt that with Blackwell being important and missing Howden, we need him for PK responsibilities so you want to limit his ice time, but ultimately it was mostly Kaapo, his play determined us making that switch, he deserved it.”
  • On Adam Fox, “I got to see him 3-4 games last year in the preseason at the rookie tournament and I remember there was one game where I think our team had 15 scoring chances and he was in on 12 of them, so I had an idea of what kind of player he was. Seeing him at ice level in the NHL has been eye-opening for me. I knew he was a good hockey player, but seeing him at ice level, the plays he’s making, and how composed he is, not only is he good with the puck, but really good defensively and being able to read. He’s not overly physical and doesn’t play the game like Trouba or Miller do, but he’s able to defend with the skills that he has. Between Lindgren and Fox playing together, that is a great pair.”
  • Was there pressure when Buffalo tied it, “Like I said before, I didn’t feel any of the pressure. As a coach you try to stay calm and encourage your players, but the coaches didn’t need to do very much. I know Dru was talking to the players a little bit, but it was more seriousness and ‘okay guys, we need to pick it up,’ I think they handled it within themselves. Getting up for these games, obviously, this game means a lot more for the Rangers than it does the Sabres, but you call these trap games, where you get up so much playing Philadelphia, you’ve gotta pass them to get in the playoffs, you are playing the hottest team in the NHL in the Capitals and now you play Buffalo, but I think the effort and execution was pretty good tonight.”
  • On the offense getting going, “I think everyone is playing with confidence, good defensively, but I think the biggest reason why the offense is coming is Zibanejad. Now you have that line playing like they did last year and Strome and Panarin, throughout the year are pretty consistent, but with Zibanejad playing as well as he is with Kreider and Buchie, they are one of the best lines in the league right now. I think that is the biggest turnaround.”
  • On Kinkaid, “I think all the goalies are really good goalies and give us an opportunity to win every night. With Keith, you’ve got a goalie that starts the season on the taxi squad, wasn’t sure how much he was going to play. Now, obviously, he got his opportunity and is making the most of it. Often when you put  in your third string goalie, your team doesn’t have confidence, not sure you are going to get the big save when it’s needed, but Kinkaid has done everything we’ve asked of him and more with the way that he’s played. I’m just really impressed with how well he’s played.”