WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Jacob Trouba, traded to the Rangers by the Jets over the summer, enjoyed his first game back in his former home rink since the trade.
“I was looking forward to it,’’ Trouba said afterward. “It was definitely fun. We wanted to win the game, and it’s nice that we won the game, but I was going to remember it either way, I guess.’’
The Rangers won the game, 4-1, and Trouba heard some boos, heard some cheers, and according to Rangers coach David Quinn, played a solid 22:24. “I’m really happy for him, and proud of him the way he played tonight,’’ Quinn said. “This isn’t an easy situation to come into, and he played he played a really good game.
Trouba wasn’t the only player for whom Tuesday’s game had special meaning. Brendan Lemieux had been traded by the Jets to the Rangers in the Kevin Hayes deal just before last season’s trade deadline and second-year player Brett Howden is from Winnipeg.
Howden, who was injured last season when the Rangers played here, played his first game as pro in his hometown, and he was expecting a big cheering section to see him.
“Probably around 40-ish,’’ Howden said at the morning skate, when asked how many people would be in the stands to see him. “Close friends, lots of family and just, lots of people that have helped me along the way.’’
Smith sits out 4th in row
Quinn stayed with the same lineup that beat the Kings Sunday, meaning G Alexandar Georgiev and LW/D Brendan Smith were the scratches. “Smitty is a key piece to our team and I know lately he hasn’t been playing a lot, and that probably is more because we like what the other guys are doing,’’ Quinn said of Smith, who sat out his fourth straight game. “He’s such a pro and he’s such a presence in our locker room. And he’s a good player when he’s when he’s playing. It just happens to be a situation where other guys are playing just a little bit better . . . and we just we just feel like this is our best lineup right now.’’