RALEIGH, N.C. — Brady Skjei was the odd defenseman out against Carolina on Thursday, scratched as rookie Ryan Lindgren rejoined the lineup after sitting out Wednesday night’s win over Detroit.
Lindgren, 21, had played three straight games in place of alternate captain Marc Staal, but he came out when Staal went back in the lineup Wednesday, even though coach David Quinn said Lindgren had played well and did not deserve to be benched.
In his postgame media briefing Wednesday, Quinn was asked if his plan going forward with his seven defensemen would be to rotate the seven through the six lineup spots for each game based on how well they were playing.
“Yes, it’ll definitely be that,’’ Quinn said. “And maybe the leash is a little shorter for guys now, because I am comfortable with [all] seven. So maybe there were times where if you don’t feel great with all seven, if a guy doesn’t have a good night, you give him another chance. Well, I think that might be a little different now with seven guys that I’d like to see play.’’
On Wednesday night, Quinn said Staal played a “solid’’ game. With his brother Jordan playing for Carolina, it seemed likely that Marc would remain in the lineup. Someone had to come out.
In his pregame media briefing Thursday, Quinn wouldn’t reveal his lineup for the game, saying there were “a couple of issues healthwise’’ that would necessitate waiting until after warmups to finalize the lineup.
Skjei, who seemed to struggle Wednesday, turning the puck over several times and making curious decisions, did not skate in the warmup.
Center Lias Andersson also returned to the lineup after sitting out Wednesday. Micheal Haley came out to make room . . . After playing a back-to-back, the Rangers will be off Friday. They will practice at noon Saturday at Lasker Rink in Central Park. The practice is open to the public.