The first big learning moment of an otherwise benign opening playoff series for Rangers rookie defenseman Braden Schneider came late in Saturday’s first period.
Faced with pressure from defending zone Brian Boyle, Schneider turned the puck and seconds later Evan Rodrigues slammed it into the net, extending the Penguins’ lead to 4-1 and deepening the spiral Rangers found themselves in during a disastrous 20 minutes.
Justin Braun, who has more playoff games under his belt than any other Ranger, used words like “stressful” and “fuzzy” to describe his 2011 playoff debut with the Sharks to reporters Sunday. No doubt the 20-year-old Schneider will describe this series in a similar way over time.
“Great player,” Braun said of Schneider. “Has a bright future. Strong, walks well, shoots the puck really well. Yes, he was really impressive. I didn’t know much about him coming in and he’s a very impressive lad.”
Despite Saturday’s costly mistake, Braun has let Schneider know he belongs on the postseason stage.
“There’s no need to get overly stressed because they can play at this level,” Braun said. “They’re good. Even spoke to Schneidsy last night – don’t worry about it man. Just keep going. You’ll get your chance to score some goals in this series.”
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Schneider received an assist in Game 2, but the Rangers’ top two defensive pairs received most of the Ice Age. The rookie only played 13:47 in Game 3, which the Rangers lost 7:4.
Asked about his options for the third pair on Sunday, Rangers manager Gerard Gallant said he was confident of sticking with Schneider and Patrik Nemeth.
“You point the finger at these guys, but it was the first period. I have no problem,” Gallant said. “You will play hard. They will do their best. For us, everything revolves around our team.”
However, if Ryan Lindgren can return to the lineup, Gallant will soon make a decision and split two spots between Braun, Schneider and Nemeth.
Braun, who can play at either side, has filled in for Lindgren on Adam Fox’s left side for the last two games after sitting in the opener of the series.
“They’re trying to come up with the best lineup to win hockey games,” Gallant said. “Last night we had a rough night. Not just our third D-Pair.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/08/braden-schneider-still-has-rangers-support-after-game-3-gaffe/ Braden Schneider still has Rangers support after slipping up in Game 3