Friday was an off-day for the Rangers, a day to rest up after stepping off the red eye that brought them home from a nine-day road trip through Chicago and California. Saturday they were on the ice, so it was a day to shake off any lingering fatigue and wind back up. Right?
"They had more energy than I anticipated. Not sure how I feel, though," David Quinn said with a laugh after Saturday's practice. "We wanted to keep it short, we wanted to have pace to it, fight through a little bit of the grogginess, the tiredness. But I really liked their energy."
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The Rangers were a loose team on Saturday morning, and much of that energy surely is attributable to how the Rangers finished their longest road trip of the season, with two wins over three days in San Jose and Anaheim. The Rangers got better as the trip went along, and in Thursday's finale, they received crucial contributions from their rookie class: Brett Howden had a goal and an assist, Filip Chytil started the power-play sequence that led to the Rangers' first goal, and Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves in the game before going 2-for-2 to win his first career shootout.
"For us it's about the group as well, and I was just really happy with the way we played in the last two games. There was certainly a different feel, there was a little bit more of an identity, the way we want to play," said Quinn, who will reinsert Pavel Buchnevich into the lineup when the Rangers face the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. "But to see those (rookies) get rewarded statistically and play with a bit more confidence is always good. Those guys continue to grow, they're big parts of our future and present. It's good to see those guys get rewarded."