One of the reasons Kapo Kako has been in the offensive groove lately is that his place in the lineup hasn’t changed, the Finnish winger has said.
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While Artemi Panarin, Ryan Strom and Kako have all been active on the Rangers roster, head coach Gerard Gallant consistently deployed all three of them together on a line—until Rangers’ 4–4 on the Islanders Wednesday night at UBS Arena. Didn’t win by 1.
Gallant opted to move Kako next to Mika Zibnejad and Chris Kreider, while placing Dryden Hunt on the wing of Panarin and Strom.
“We as coaches were discussing this” [on Tuesday] And we sit there sometimes, we have too much time and we make decisions like that,” he said after the win, which saw Rangers improve to 12-4-3. Let’s talk about pace and then Capo played really well, so it was a combination of things and we’ll see where it goes tomorrow.
“But I was happy with both [line changes], The sad part of it though was so many punishments that Huntsey didn’t get the time she should have with them and Capo didn’t play much either. We were hitting a lot of penalties and there were a lot of power plays. ,
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At 11:02 of the third period, Kako extended his points streak to five games with an assist on Chris Kreider’s second goal of the night. Prior to Wednesday’s Rangers win, the Panarin-Ström-Kako line was on the ice together for seven goals and only three goals in 13 games through 153:40 per natural stat trick.
It could have been a risky move to break Rangers’ most consistent line, especially when its success was boosting Kako’s confidence. But Gallant said before the game that he thought the Rangers had another level in him, and experimenting with lines is definitely a strategy to unlock it.
“I think Micah and I have played with him in different combinations over the years,” Kreider said of Kako. “Just keep talking on the bench, on the ice, trying to help each other out in terms of what we’re seeing, what we’re studying. I think a process like this is what drives that process.” gives momentum [of developing chemistry],
Goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin opened for Rangers’ opening matchup at UBS Arena on Wednesday night against the Islanders and faced 20 of 21 shots.
It marked his sixth appearance in the last seven games after relieving backup Alexander Georgiev against the Sabers three nights earlier.
When Gallant was asked how much stock he holds in a goaltender’s record against opponents when he collaborated with Rangers director of goalscoring Benoit Allaire, the head coach said he personally does not.
“I don’t take it completely into account,” Gallant said. “Benny does, you know, he looks at records in the past and all that stuff. I’m more concerned about this year than what I know about my goals and the way they’re playing. Shesty’s excellent Used to be. “