SAN JOSE, Calif. — Peter Laviolette deployed around 10 different line combinations in the Rangers’ 5-2 win over the Ducks on Sunday night, which is something the head coach has not done that often this season.
There have only been a few occasions when Laviolette has made personnel or position changes based on performance, as well as only a couple in-game instances of putting the lineup in a blender.
Most of the lineup alterations have been out of necessity due to injuries or other uncontrollable outside factors.
Despite the team’s 11-11-2 stretch since Dec. 5, Laviolette is still showing faith in the Rangers’ current alignment that also went 18-4-1 to start the season.
“I think there’s been some really good things that have happened this year inside of having some consistency,” the 59-year-old coach said before the Rangers’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Sharks at SAP Center. “At times, the odd time, I think to spend the time to mix it up and to try and look in a different direction just to shake it. Different view. There’s something about changing the view every once in a while, I think can be good. And that’s just the way this year has gone, I can’t say that I’ve always been this consistent as a coach.
“The shake-up inside of the game has only happened a couple times. And I think that’s because, for the most part, we have been pretty consistent. Even in some of the losses that have happened recently, go back to the Montreal game and the two or three games that followed that, I thought we were hunting.
“We had 45, 47, 48 shots and we weren’t giving up that much, but the game wasn’t going our way. When the game’s not going our way, that’s the time when maybe you shake it up and move it around in a different direction.”
So the Rangers started the same way they did Sunday night in Anaheim, including Igor Shesterkin in goal.
Through 47 games, Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad have skated next to one another in all but one, the Jan. 11 game when Zibanejad was a last-minute scratch because he was sick.. They’ve had Kaapo Kakko on their right wing for 17 games, Blake Wheeler for 25, Jonny Brodzinski for three and Will Cuylle for one. Then there was the Jan. 11 game when Zibanejad was a last-minute scratch because he was sick.
Artemi Panarin and Alexis Lafreniere have flanked the same line in all 46 games. Filip Chytil centered the two for 10 games before he went down with a suspected concussion and Vincent Trocheck has now skated in that spot for 36 straight contests.
The Rangers reassigned Matthew Robertson to AHL Hartford on Monday.