The Rangers’ defensive pairings were set in stone once every night, and they had the most effective formation.
As with other aspects of the Rangers’ season, questions have suddenly been raised about the duo that once worked together. A look at where Gerard Gallant will go with his squad decisions after the manager messed up again midway through the game before Rangers beat the Devils 4-3 in extra time at the Garden on Monday night interesting
Aside from the pairing of Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren, the rest of the quarterbacks have been mixed up in recent games. K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba split and then reunited, as did Braden Schneider and Libor Hajek.
Since the start of the Rangers’ four-game winning streak, Miller and Trouba, Schneider and Hajek have skated together. After Trouba had a couple of rough shifts to start Monday night, Gallant relegated him to the bottom pairing with Hajek.
The Rangers captain’s first change came less than 3 minutes into the game, resulting in a shot from Devils forward Tomas Tatar that had to be saved by goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin. The Devils made the Rangers pay for the next one. Another failed attempt by Trouba made it 2-0 by Dawson Mercer. Later in the game, Miller’s aggressive pinch hitter forced Alexis Lafreniere to try to cover a two-on-one for the Devils that ended with a Jack Hughes error and a 3-1 deficit for the Rangers.
Minimizing turnovers should be a team-wide goal, but the defense as a whole could use a little smarter play as well.
Gallant said he liked the new balance of the D pairings after splitting Miller and Trouba for three games, but he quickly returned to it. According to Natural Stat Trick, the two players have combined for the most ice time this season with 391:37 combined for 12 goals and 22 assists for the Rangers this season. .
Miller’s and Schneider’s numbers give more approval to stay together. In 81:09, the two held the Rangers to five goals and just three turnovers, barely letting the lead slip away 39-38.
Vincent Trocheck had two points in the win over the Devils, including his sixth power-play goal of the season, matching his total last season. The center is one of two NHL players, joining Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals, to record 20-plus points and 75-plus shots this season.