The New York Rangers won their fourth game of the season Tuesday night as the youth movement officially began at Madison Square Garden.
Head coach David Quinn called out his New York Rangers team after a bad loss to the Boston Bruins on Sunday. Holding little back, he explained that the team’s battle level was nowhere near where it should be to win at a consistent level in the NHL.
Tuesday night, the ensuing changes were noticeable at the ceremonial puck drop. On first-responders night at the Garden, former Ranger Dan Girardi (now retired) walked to center ice to drop the puck.
In what seems like a “new beginning,” Girardi was standing in the middle of Chris Kreider and another former Blueshirt, Ryan McDonagh. Henrik Lundqvist was on the bench as the backup and defenseman Marc Staal was in street clothes.
The next chapter of Rangers tradition has begun.
The team’s play against the Lightning on Tuesday proved that the message was heard. The result was a 4-1 victory.
The coaching staff had as much to do with the win as did the players.
Tough decisions made, players step up in big moments.
Quinn has taken plenty of heat this season due to his unwillingness to make lineup changes that could help the team. Many believe his loyalty has trumped the betterment of the team in some areas (see Brendan Smith).
The moves he made on Tuesday put those thoughts to rest at the moment.
- Mika Zibanejad was out of the lineup on Tuesday. The club made the bold move of calling up Filip Chytil and defenseman Ryan Lindgren.
- For the first time in his 13 year NHL career, Marc Staal was a healthy scratch with Lindgren sliding in his place.
- Alexandar Georgiev, 29 saves, played what was probably his best game as a Ranger.
- The Rangers had seven players in their lineup 21 years old or younger as Andersson, Chytil, Fox, Hajek, Howden, Kakko and Lindgren all dressed for the game.
- Kakko (goal), Chytil (goal), Fox (goal) and Lindgren (assist) all recorded points in Tuesday’s game.
- Lindgren earned another game at least with the Rangers as he’s on the job evaluation continues. The club has a great opportunity now to keep an extra defenseman, which will allow Quinn the opportunity to alternate defenseman as is needed.
Filip Chytil was on the puck all night. His speed was evident on the winning goal when he split the Tampa Bay defense, deflecting a nice pass by Pavel Buchnevich into the Lightning net for his first of the year.
The kids were not the only players stepping up, as Ryan Strome has once again found his game. Strome extended his point streak to five games (two goals, five assists), which ties his career-high.
Before the team starts canceling plans for April, the club did give up plenty of high-quality scoring chances. This will be a reoccurring theme as the club has to figure out how to operate efficiently with three rookie defensemen on the blue line.
The new-look Rangers team is off until Saturday afternoon when they make their only visit to Nashville. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but maybe the foundation has finally be laid for a new beginning the club has been in search of the last nine games.
Welcome Home Dan Girardi
The Rangers welcomed back Dan Girardi before the game. The 13-year NHL veteran played his first 11 years for the Blueshirts and the last two for Tampa Bay.
MSG played a video tribute fir the defenseman, commemorating his time with the Rangers.
Little dusty in here.
Welcome home, G-Money. pic.twitter.com/Jo6wwRs5pu
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) October 30, 2019