Rangers focusing on task at hand before bye-week break – New York Post
Nine days without a game await the Rangers once the final horn sounds Saturday night in Boston.
But coach David Quinn gathered his team twice during Friday’s practice to remind them there should be no early start to their break.
“For every second you think about what beach you’re going to be on and what hotel you’re going to stay at and what cocktail you’re going to be drinking, you’re taking away from what our task is [Saturday],” Quinn said.
The result of Saturday’s clash between the Rangers (20-20-7) and Bruins (27-16-5) at TD Garden may linger, for better or worse, during the bye week and All-Star break. They won’t play again until Jan. 29, so the Rangers — winners of three of their past four — will try to keep momentum on their side.
“It’s definitely human nature to look ahead, but we have a good group of guys here that will really focus and bear down,” defenseman Brady Skjei said. “We want to have a good feeling going into the break. Three wins in a row going into a nine-day break sounds pretty good to me.”
The Bruins drafted Ryan Lindgren in the second round in 2016 before trading him to the Rangers last February as part of the Rick Nash deal. The defenseman, who now has two NHL games under his belt, never played in the Boston organization but participated in its development camps and said he grew closest with Bruins blueliner Charlie McAvoy, a Long Island native.
Saturday will also mark Adam McQuaid’s first trip back to Boston since he came to the Rangers in a September trade. The veteran defenseman played nine seasons with the Bruins and helped them win a Stanley Cup in 2011.
Rookie center Brett Howden played a season-low 6:40 in Thursday’s win over the Blackhawks and has just two points over his last 23 games, but hopes to use the break as a reset.
“Obviously it’s something that every player goes through at one point,” Howden said. “Just working hard every day to get myself out of it.”
The Rangers assigned 22-year-old goalie Alexandar Georgiev to AHL Hartford and recalled Marek Mazanec. Georgiev owns a 3.43 goals-against average and .895 save percentage in 16 games this season. Starting Friday, the Wolf Pack had six games before the Rangers’ break ends.
Mats Zuccarello, Marc Staal and Jesper Fast all missed practice for maintenance days, but Quinn said they will be in the lineup Saturday.