34° Good Morning
34° Good Morning

Rangers coach David Quinn changes defensive pairings despite opening-night win

Jacob Trouba will be paired with Libor Hajek

Jacob Trouba will be paired with Libor Hajek against the Ottawa Senators Saturday night.   Credit: Jim McIsaac

The understood theme about this Rangers season is change.

So, even after a wild, 6-4 season-opening win Thursday night, the team returned to its Tarrytown training center Friday to find a coach who was not enamored with the way his club performed.

The Rangers will embark on their first road trip this season with new defense pairings Saturday night in Ottawa. The Jacob Trouba-Brady Skjei pairing has been split up, as Trouba will skate with Libor Hajek while Skjei will be partnered with rookie Adam Fox. The pairing of Marc Staal and Tony DeAngelo appears to stay intact, but as Quinn noted, game circumstances could cause him to adjust personnel.

“We just weren’t in sync in a lot of ways in a lot of areas,” David Quinn said after practice. “We didn’t play well at all to come out with the win. You feel good about the win, but certainly don’t feel great about the way it evolved.”

When pressed if the decision to split up Hajek and Fox was to ensure that there would not be a defense pairing comprised of two rookies, Quinn was circumspect.

“It’s about a lot of things,” Quinn said. “When you have the ‘D’ corps that we have, there’s a lot of moving pieces to it. (There’s not) one big reason to it. There’s a bunch of reasons we changed those pairings.”   

Even though the six defensemen finished the game with two goals and five assists for seven points — the only defenseman not to record a point  was Fox — the Rangers were outshot 47-32, and out-attempted 81-51.

“Honestly if I went through all the things we were going to need to do to have success, I don’t know if there were many things I would say, ‘Boy, we did a good job in that area,’” Quinn said. “It really was one of those nights.”

Quinn announced Alexandar Georgiev will start in goal against the Senators. “Big picture, we only play three games in 17 days,” Quinn said. “I don't want Georgie sitting for a long time.”

Following Saturday’s game, the Rangers will not play again until a matinee on the 12th against the Oilers, then have another four days without a game before back-to-back road games in New Jersey and Washington on Oct. 17-18.

New York Sports