About that observation from David Quinn following Friday night’s 5-2 defeat to the Capitals in Washington in which the coach said that Kaapo Kakko would have to adjust his game:
“He’s 18 years old. Twenty-year-old’s go through it,” the coach said before Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to the Canucks at the Garden. “The only way guys measure themselves is by points. One of the things every 18-year-old has to do, and he’s no different, is to understand that he has responsibility in all three zones and, you know, scoring goals [are no more] important as preventing them.”
Quinn moved Kakko up to the first power-play unit against the Canucks as the fourth forward, joining stalwarts Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider. The Finn got 2:10 on the man-advantage and 13:45 overall, getting most of his five-on-five time with Brett Howden and Brendan Lemieux.
Kakko had several shifts in the third period where he controlled the puck below the goal line. He was also the forward Quinn sent over the boards as the extra attacker when Henrik Lundqvist was pulled with 1:50 to go.
“He wants to learn,” said the coach. “He’s a guy who’s always looking for help, looking to be better, and we’re confident he will.”
But Buchnevich, who saw no power-play time at all, bounced back and was restored to active duty, playing for the most part with Ryan Strome and Jesper Fast in the third period. Buchnevich, who finished with 16:17 (7:33 in the third period), was not only also on the ice with the Rangers playing six-on-five, he knocked Tanner Pearson’s shot out of midair as it was headed toward the empty net with 1:35 remaining.
“I thought he got out of the gate slowly, struggled early, and I made some changes,” Quinn said. “Because of penalties basically, I put him back where he started, he had a little more energy and I thought he had a good last 25 or 30 minutes.”
Brady Skjei played only four shifts and 3:43 in the second, going nearly six and seven minutes between turns.
“We’re looking for more out of him,” Quinn said. “He’s got to play better. He’s got to be more consistent.”