Rangers hope Kaapo Kakko was sparked by pre-break scoring flurry

The Rangers are hoping Kaapo Kakko’s development can finally kickstart after a quiet start to the season by scoring a goal in each of the final two games before the All-Star break.

Kakko, a Finnish winger and No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, had just three goals and one assist in the first 26 games of the season before scoring against the Golden Knights and Senators before the Rangers’ week-long break. could not. .

“We watched him at practice today and the first thing we said when he came down after practice was there was some pop in his step,” Rangers manager Peter Laviolette said. It looked like it was there,” he said of Kakko. “He seemed to play a little more and attack the game a little more and be a little more determined in the pocket, so he just tried to keep it short-term and talk about what’s been going on lately and build on that. .

“Please bring it [Monday against the Avalanche] So you can start based on that. ”

Kakko, who missed 21 games in the first half with a lower-body injury, skated on the right side alongside Will Quill and Johnny Brodzinski in Sunday’s practice.

Kaapo Kakko had just three goals and one assist in his first 26 games. NHLI (via Getty Images)

Jacob Trouba’s two-game suspension ends with Monday’s game, but it was a valuable opportunity for underused defenseman Zach Jones.

“I know that if you don’t want to go on the ice and compete, you’re not going to get to this level. That’s how you always deal with things in life. He does his part in this situation. I think he did an unbelievable job,” Laviolette said of Jones, who played in 16 games.

“We’re confident and it’s great for him to get the chance and get in there and play some minutes for us. … We know he wants to play and now he gets the chance.” I’m in the middle of it.”

Forward Jake Lecishin and defenseman Connor McKee were recalled from AHL Hartford.

“He was great,” Laviolette said of having actor Will Arnett (of Arrested Development and BoJack Horseman fame) as his celebrity coach at the All-Star Game. It was so easy to put on. Did you see the speech? It’s a classic. It was great, he came in after the second game and said, “Why not us?!” he was great. He was very fired up on the bench. …It was really fun. ”