After strong performance Rangers will find it hard to take Brendan Smith out of the lineup
The Rangers played very poorly on Thursday to open the season. It resulted in a 4-0 loss, and a shakeup throughout the entire lineup. Matter of fact, the only thing that didn’t change to start the game was the KZB top line.
Last night, it was a full 180. The Broadway Blueshirts absolutely dominated the Islanders from start to finish and the result was a 5-0 win. After the game, Isles coach Barry Trotz said of his team, “we were junk.”
What to do with Tony DeAngelo
It’s very possible that David Quinn doesn’t change a blessed thing for Tuesday’s contest against the NJ Devils. However, that means keeping Tony DeAngelo in a press box for a second consecutive game.
The Rangers top scoring defenseman was sorely missed on the PP last night getting only 1 power play goal on 8 tries. Adam Fox took his spot on the first unit and was good at moving the puck but lacks Tony’s shot and ability to get shots through. An underrated and often not talked about enough ability a PP QB must have.
At 25 years-old, Quinn needs Tony DeAngelo to take the next step and be a leader on this team. His unsportsmanlike penalty made him an easy candidate to set an example of for the team and hopefully get the message through.
Quinn explained all that yesterday, and even said that Tony will be back soon. Which means, what to do with Brendan Smith.
Expect to see Brendan Smith remain in the lineup
Brendan Smith was inserted for Tony DeAngelo, and played one of the best games he’s ever had in a Rangers sweater. It was epitomized on the Rangers second goal where he made a key block and then turned it up ice to Artemi Panarin for a breakaway tally.
That was certainly Smith’s best play of the night but it shouldn’t overshadow the beast of game he had in all three zones. By every measure the man made a difference on both sides of the puck helping the Rangers in the possession game and PK.
So how could you take him or anyone else out for that matter.
Brendan Smith likely to reprise the role he had last year
One distinct possibility for Quinn is to utilize Brendan Smith as he did last season. Dress him as a 7th defenseman but start him on the 4th line wing. That means that Phil DiGiuseppe will need to be scratched, which isn’t easy as he played with speed and picked up an assist on Kaapo Kakko’s goal.
However, Quinn’s job is to put the best lineup possible on the ice every night. Many feel that Jack Johnson should be scratched, but that doesn’t appear likely to happen.
So the Rangers best bet is to reinsert DeAngelo on the third pair and QB’ing the PP again. Smith can start on the 4th line and give Quinn that safety valve of dressing an extra defenseman who can take over if an injury, misconduct penalty, or just a bad night to any other defender happens.
That’s the play, and it’s one I expect to happen.