Brendan Smith’s play allays Rangers’ Brady Skjei trade sorrow
The Rangers weren’t drained of talent at Monday’s trade deadline the way they were the past two seasons, but their one trade still hurt a day later.
Coach David Quinn said it was a “sad day” trading Brady Skjei to the Hurricanes, though his blue-line replacement, Brendan Smith, had a strong game Tuesday in the Rangers’ 4-3 overtime win over the Islanders.
“Never easy to see a guy go that you have an awful lot of respect for, a guy that’s done a really good job for us,” Quinn said. “Probably not a more likable guy on our team. It was an emotional day for a lot of people.”
Add in the high of keeping Chris Krieder with a seven-year extension and the unexpected twist of rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin and winger Pavel Buchnevich getting in a car crash Sunday night, and the Rangers experienced the full spectrum of emotions before taking the ice against the Islanders.
“An exhausting day for every team in this league,” Quinn said. “But when you’re the youngest team in the league, it might be a little bit more exhausting for you. But we’re a close-knit group and that happened in a short period of time.”
Smith, a natural defenseman who had played forward for most of the past year, filled the void against the Islanders, assisting on Brett Howden’s goal and playing 18:25 paired with Jacob Trouba.
“Great game by Smitty,” Quinn said. “He played really well. Really happy for him.”
Trouba delivered a crushing hit on Michael Dal Colle early in the third period, knocking the Islanders winger out for the rest of the game. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Islanders’ trade deadline prize, immediately dropped the gloves and fought Trouba.
“Trouba might have had his best game as a Ranger,” Quinn said.
Trouba only got five minutes for fighting while Pageau was hit with a minor penalty for instigating, five minutes for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.
After he and Shesterkin were in a car crash in Brooklyn on Sunday night, Buchnevich sat out Tuesday’s game. He did not sustain any significant injuries, but was shaken up and is day-to-day.
Filip Chytil took Buchnevich’s spot at right wing on the top line, the first time the natural center played on the wing this season.
“He’s a hockey player,” Quinn said. “A damn good one.”
Chytil’s move to the wing allowed Howden to move back to his natural spot at center.
Kreider, who missed Monday’s practice with an illness, remained in the lineup. Hearing about his extension was like “Christmas,” Quinn said. … Artemi Panarin’s first-period goal, set up by a sharp cross-ice feed from Ryan Lindgren, was his career-high 32nd of the season.
Source : Greg Joyce Link