With defensemen Jacob Trouba and K’Andre Miller not playing and therefore unable to man the points on the second power-play unit, Rangers coach David Quinn was forced to change things up. He put Anthony Bitetto on the point for that unit.
And the Island Park native earned an assist on Colin Blackwell’s power-play goal in the second period of the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Flyers, the Blueshirts’ first goal with the man advantage in six games.
Bitetto sent a pass to Pavel Buchnevich, whose shot was tipped in by Blackwell for his third goal of the season. The assist was Bitetto’s first as a Ranger. He scored his first goal as a Ranger on Feb. 4 in a 4-2 win over the Capitals.
Buch can’t convert
Buchnevich had two golden chances to score the go-ahead goal late in the second period when he broke in on Philadelphia goalie Carter Hart. He was slashed from behind by Ivan Provorov, which earned him a penalty shot. Before that happened, though, he managed to get off a backhand shot that Hart saved with the glove. Hart then saved the penalty shot with 3:19 remaining in the period.
Depleted ‘D’ steps up
With Trouba and Miller out, the defense had only three members from the six who played opening night against the Islanders. That included Jack Johnson, who played his first game since Jan. 26, having missed eight games with a groin injury.
Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren were the other two who played opening night, but the other three defensemen Thursday were Bitetto and Libor Hajek — both started the season on the taxi squad — and Brendan Smith, who was a healthy scratch as the seventh defenseman on opening night.
"You don’t replace [Trouba and Miller] with one guy,’’ Quinn said. "Everybody’s got to step up and I thought they did that. I thought they did a good job tonight under tough circumstances."