A Rangers center sat on top of the NHL leaderboard before the puck dropped inside the Garden to start Sunday night’s game against San Jose.
Vincent Trocheck had claimed the highest percentage of faceoff wins for those who had squared off for the drop of a puck at least 300 times, winning them at a rate of 64.2%. He topped the Rangers last season, among those playing at least 25 games, winning 56.1% of them.
His prowess was on full display Saturday when the Rangers won, 4-3, in Nashville. Trocheck went 19-7 on faceoffs with wins before three goals, including one by him.
“Troch, I think, is somebody who is always above average in the faceoff circle to begin with,” coach Peter Laviolette said before Trocheck went 15-9 in the Rangers’ 6-5 victory over the Sharks. “He’s certainly having a good year there.”
The Rangers arrived with a league-leading 17 victories. They also were on the top rung as a team in faceoff winning percentage at 56.2.
“I think the faceoffs is possession, and the fact that our centermen have done a pretty good job in the circle, it’s a point that we’ve emphasized right from the start of the year,” Laviolette said. “It gets attention every day.”
David Quinn coached the Rangers for three seasons through 2020-21. He’s in his second season as the coach of the Sharks and recorded his first win with them when he returned here last season.
“Obviously, when you work someplace, there’s always an emotional tie to it,” Quinn said. “But now the further removed you get from it, it’s just different.”
Up and down
The Rangers summoned forward Anton Blidh from Hartford as a precaution. Laviolette said they got “bumped up a little bit” in Nashville. Blidh ended up being scratched, then sent back down.