Midway through the second period of Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, the Rangers were trailing, 2-0, and coach David Quinn shook up his forward lines, just for a few shifts.
"I just tried to change things up just a little bit,’’ Quinn said. "It wasn't something I planned on doing for a long time, unless things started really clicking for us. But I just thought we were a little bit stale. Even though we spent some time in the offensive zone, I thought we a little bit stale.’’
So Quinn moved Kaapo Kakko, who’d begun the game on the second line, with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, down to the Kid Line, with Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil. He dropped Julien Gauthier off the Kid Line to the fourth line, and promoted Colin Blackwell, who’d scored two goals Sunday, up to the Panarin-Strome line.
Then, after a few shifts, Quinn changed everything back, putting Kakko back with Panarin-Strome. That worked out pretty well, as Kakko scored the tying goal in the third period, assisted by Strome and Panarin.
"When the third period started, we addressed a few things in between the second and third and wanted to get back to the lines that we had, because we think when we're doing the things we need to do, those are the lines that give us the best chance to win,’’ Quinn said.
Back from protocol
Assistant coach David Oliver cleared COVID-19 protocol and was back behind the bench for the first time since he and the entire bench staff – fellow assistants Greg Brown and Jacques Martin and Quinn – were placed into protocol on March 17. Oliver was the final member of the coaching staff to return to full duty.
Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblauch, who filled in as acting head coach for six games while Quinn was out, and who served as an assistant Sunday when Oliver still had not been cleared to return, went back to Hartford when Oliver was cleared.
Brett Howden (COVID-19 list) missed his fifth game . . . With Igor Shesterkin starting in goal, Alexandar Georgiev served as the backup, with Keith Kinkaid moved to the taxi squad.