Gm 2: NYR 5 NYI 0, Blueshirts flip switch, rebound from Opening Night loss
The Rangers rebounded from a nightmarish loss Thursday with a complete turnaround in terms of effort in their 5-0 win over the Islanders. With lineup changes and a swap in net, the Blueshirts - at least for one night - put the substantial distaste from their loss behind them. New York next faces the Devils on Tuesday.
1) Here was the original projected lineup:
First line → Chris Kreider (LW) • Mika Zibanejad (C) • Pavel Buchnevich (RW)
Second line → Artemi Panarin (LW) • Ryan Strome (C) • Alexis Lafrenière (RW)
Third line → Phil Di Giuseppe (LW) • Filip Chytil (C) • Kaapo Kakko (RW)
Fourth line → Brendan Lemieux (LW) • Brett Howden (C) • Julien Gauthier (RW)
Top pair → Ryan Lindgren (L) • Jacob Trouba (R)
Second pair → Jack Johnson (L) • Adam Fox (R)
Third pair → K'Andre Miller (L) • Brendan Smith (R)
Starter → Alexandar Georgiev
Backup → Igor Shesterkin
The only change was Panarin and Lafreniere swapped sides, allowing the rookie to be a bit more comfortable. As was discussed during Friday and before the game Saturday, the big change upfront was the "demotion" of Kakko to the third line as well as move of Gauthier to the second. But that paled by comparison to the scratching of Tony DeAngelo and reshuffling of the blueline. Lindgren moved up, Johnson replaced him on the second pairing while Miller slid down to the third line and was paired with a steady vet in Smith. On paper, it all worked.
If you think Quinn didn't know how these moves were received, then you are clueless. Just look at the quote below. That should tell you all you need to know. In addition, I liked that he praised the four associate captains for stepping up and leading in the locker room, getting the team back on track.
DeAngelo had a horrific game Thursday. If you want to say his off-ice persona drove the scratching, be my guest. I won't disagree with you that it most certainly played a part. But ADA keeps shooting himself in the foot by his actions on the ice. His play was poor, the penalty was unnecessary, because it was a result of ADA not moving his feet and reaching, and the unsportsmanlike conduct extra two minutes was the final nail in the coffin. Quinn is going to coach the team as he sees fit. This won't win him friends amongst many, but if he is going to go down, he will go down his way. I expect DeAngelo back in the lineup Monday.
Who sits? To be determined. Johnson was unnoticeable, which was a good thing. Miller was noticeable, which was a good thing, as seen by his advanced metrics below. The pairing of him and Smith worked and should be repeated Monday. This means that Johnson likely should be the odd-man out, since the other blueliners all should remain in the lineup.
2) Alexandar Georgiev - first game in 10 months, no sweat. Solid positioning, great rebound control, tracked pucks well throughout. Aided by a few posts late to get the shutout, but came up with the big saves when needed. I expect Igor Shesterkin back between the pipes Monday, but wouldn't be shocked if Georgi gets the nod.
3) Buchnevich - you can dislike Quinn, but he sure has made Buch a better player. Plus, if you watched the post-game press conference, the quote below by Quinn came with a huge smile on his face, evidencing just how much he likes Buchnevich. We thought Mr. Happy was prime for a big year and early on, sure looks like that will be the case following his pair of markers tonight..
4) Third line - if there is one minor criticism, the PDG-Chytil-Kakko line should have seen more ice time. While on the ice, they were dominant. Kakko's goal was set up by great forechecking and a quick transition from D to O. The ice time was somewhat skewed by the power plays and penalty kills, but the trio did deserve more time.
5) Power play - a bit better, despite going 1-for-7. Puck movement was slightly crisper, but would like to see more player movement and better screens in front. Panarin got one late on the PP and he tallied one at even strength thanks to a brilliant feed by Smith.