Despite the fact that the Rangers won both games on the recent road trip in which coach Gerard Gallant dressed an 11-forward, seven-defenseman lineup, the coach went back to the more conventional 12-and-6 look Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden during their 4-3 overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks.
Forward Ryan Reaves re-entered the lineup and defenseman Libor Hajek exited.
Gallant had said after the Rangers defeated Dallas, 7-4 on Saturday with the 11-and-7 lineup that he dressed the extra defenseman in order to be able to lighten the load on some of his defensemen, who log heavy minutes. Plus, he said, it was good to have Hajek in the lineup in the event one of the top six was "bumped up,’’ meaning he was nursing some kind of minor injury.
But Hajek ended up playing just 5:28 in Saturday’s game, and with only 11 forwards dressed, some of his left wings had to play extra shifts on the fourth line, increasing their ice time. Artemi Panarin, who got the assist on Adam Fox's game-winning goal Tuesday night, played over 20 minutes, for example.
Reaves, who was a healthy scratch Saturday for the first time this season, played on the right wing with Greg McKegg and Julien Gauthier.