Other than the starting goaltender, coach David Quinn made no changes to Saturday's lineup against Pittsburgh from the group that won Thursday in Buffalo. With defenseman Jack Johnson still unavailable with a groin strain, that meant Julien Gauthier was the lone healthy scratch again, his fifth straight game in street clothes.
It also meant the new-look first power-play unit, with both Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo on it – along with Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich – stayed together a second straight game.
"We needed to shake things up, obviously,’’ Quinn said of the power play, which went 1-for-5 against the Penguins on Saturday in the Rangers’ 5-4 overtime loss. "And we think that the looks for both these units will give us the best chance to have a successful power play.’’
Panarin had the Rangers’ power-play goal Saturday.
Quinn did say he wanted to see more of the second power-play unit — Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Ryan Strome, Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko — than he did Thursday.
"We got eight scoring chances on our power play (Thursday) night, so the looks were good,’’ Quinn said.
Quinn reassures Kakko
Quinn said the fact that Kakko’s ice time Thursday was under 10 minutes (9:55) was an oversight on his part, and not by design.
"When the game ended, I thought to myself, 'I don't know if I played Kakko enough,' and I went and looked at the sheet, and I didn't,’’ he said. "And I literally just talked to him today about it. I said, ‘Listen, that wasn't that wasn't by intention.’ Every now and then, that can happen -- certainly not to that extent.
"He's been playing a lot of hockey for us, (and) he's going to continue to play a lot of hockey for us.’’
Kakko had 17 shifts and 13:27 of ice time on Saturday, including 1:47 on the power play. He had three shots on goal and was a plus-1.
Colin Blackwell left in the first period with an upper-body injury. Quinn said he didn’t see the play in which Blackwell got hurt . . . Rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller (two assists) had the first two-point game of his career.