Quinn tweaks D, Georgiev gets start at Ottawa

It didn’t take long for coach David Quinn to make some changes. Following last night’s 6-4 home win, he tweaked the D and made other adjustments in practice.

When the Rangers visit Ottawa tomorrow night, it’ll be Alexandar Georgiev in net for his season debut. We’ll see if the young backup goalie can deliver the same steady netminding as he did in the second half of his rookie year.

That’ll give Henrik Lundqvist a full week off before the next game. After Saturday, the Rangers are off until the following Saturday when they host the Oilers.

Also of note, Quinn made a couple of changes to the lines. In particular, the defense where he broke up Brady Skjei and Jacob Trouba in the third period on Thursday night. Skjei spent time with rookie Adam Fox. They’ll be together at the start of tomorrow’s game. He also tried rookie Libor Hajek with number one defenseman Jacob Trouba, who had a great Rangers debut scoring a goal and adding two assists.

The only tandem that will remain the same is Marc Staal with Tony DeAngelo. They’ve been an item since last season. They have chemistry.

By altering the D pairings, DQ probably is looking for more balance. Both Fox and Hajek played slightly over 12 minutes. Fox was the steadier player. Even though Hajek recorded his first NHL point with an assist, he was shaky defensively. Maybe that’s why Trouba will play with him. He’s clearly the team’s best defenseman.

As for the forwards, it looks like the lines will remain intact. That includes Lias Andersson, who only played 8:33 and wound up minus-one on Mark Scheifele’s goal in the first period. A play in which he lost a battle and Nik Ehlers beat Skjei behind the net to center for Scheifele.

Andersson will again center the fourth line with Brendan Lemieux and Brendan Smith, who had an effective night. So, the secret weapon stays in the lineup after scoring an empty netter.

Brett Howden, who got the game-winner, is between Vladislav Namestnikov and Jesper Fast. It’s status quo for the top two lines with rookie Kaapo Kakko staying with Ryan Strome, who was excellent on faceoffs winning 10 of 14. Chris Kreider stays on the second line, leaving Mika Zibanejad with Artemiy Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich.

That’s fine. You know what’s crazy. How many people are still complaining. They won! Sure. It wasn’t pretty with Kreider describing the game as “sloppy.” But it was Game 1 of 82.

One thing the Rangers don’t want to make a habit of is defending as much as they did to Winnipeg. They were out attempted by 30 (81-51). That must improve. They can’t ask Lundqvist and Georgiev to face 47 shots a night.

That’s all for now. Hasan will have the Devils season opener much later. They host the same Jets in Newark. It’s the NHL debut of top pick Jack Hughes. Cory Schneider gets the start and PK Subban debuts along with Wayne Simmonds. That should be interesting.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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