David Quinn goes with seven defensemen, 11 forwards
RALEIGH, N.C. — Rangers coach David Quinn dressed his third different lineup in his first three games behind the bench, and the changes led to an unusual number of lines and defense pairs.
Quinn put Vlad Namestnikov back in after leaving him out against Buffalo on Saturday, and the coach also decided to dress defenseman Anthony DeAngelo for the first time this season. But Quinn took two forwards out of the lineup — Cody McLeod, who had replaced Namestnikov on Saturday, and Vinni Lettieri — and that meant he dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards. So the Rangers didn’t have the standard four forward lines and three defense pairs.
“I really wanted to get Tony DeAngelo into the lineup, and I thought we were going to keep the six D [who had played the first two games] going,’’ Quinn said when asked why he went with the seven defensemen.
At first, Quinn double-shifted a couple of wingers on the fourth line, with rookie Brett Howden and Namestnikov, but soon that led to other players filling in for the players who had double-shifted when their lines came up. And Namestnikov, Quinn said, played well, so he tried to get him more ice time.
By the end of the first period, there were 11 distinct forward lines that skated at least one shift together in the first period, including one that had defenseman Neal Pionk at right wing. Quinn tried a few more combinations in the second period, too.
For the second time in three games, the Rangers were penalized for having too many men on the ice in a man-advantage situation. This time they were halfway through a power play, and when the first unit came off, one too many players went on to replace them. Quinn isn’t worried, though. “That’s going to get fixed,” he said.