1. Who’s No. 1?
David Quinn won’t name his starting goaltender for Game 1 of the play-in series against Carolina until just before gametime Saturday. Will he go with rookie Igor Shesterkin, or franchise icon Henrik Lundqvist? Everything the coach has done indicates he’s going to stay with Shesterkin, who was the No. 1 when the NHL paused on March 12. But it’s impossible to completely count out Lundqvist, who has owned the Hurricanes in his career and had a great two-week training camp. As a coach, this is the kind of problem you like to have.
2. Where does Kaapo Kakko belong?
The 19-year-old Finn, the No. 2 pick overall in last year’s NHL draft, has stood out since the Rangers returned to practice July 13, and while Quinn has mostly stuck with the lines he had in place at the time the NHL paused play – with Kakko on the third line – the coach did experiment with Kakko on the second line in Wednesday’s warmup game against the Islanders. Might Kakko be in line for a promotion? Maybe. Quinn said he probably will keep the lines as is at the start, but he said he’s open to moving Kakko up, depending how the game is going, how he’s playing, and if the coach just wants a shakeup.
3. Who are Mr. and Mrs. Staal rooting for?
Rangers D Marc Staal will likely match up at some point with his brother, Carolina C Jordan Staal. “I lost to Jordan, when he was on Pittsburgh, and it's screwed up, as, you're happy for him but you're also crushed,’’ Marc Staal said of playing against his brother. “It's fun to compete against him, but it's never fun to -- I mean, either way, shaking hands when you win, shaking hands when you lose -- that's never fun.’’
Marc Staal said he and his brother likely won’t talk to each other for the duration of the playoff series.