NEW YORK | Jeff Schultz is used to this by now. In the lineup one day, out the other.
Monday he’s back in for the Washington Capitals in Game 2 at the New York Rangers. He’ll replace John Erskine and likely will be paired with Dennis Wideman.
Schultz, who played Games 1, 2, 3 and 7 of the Boston Bruins series but isn’t letting the shuttling in and out bother him.
“Just the way practice is, you do a lot of all-around skill stuff that keeps you kind of sharp for games in a situation like this,” he said.
Dale Hunter brushed off concern about that, too. Asked what he wanted to see out of Schultz in his series debut, the Caps’ coach was not expansive.
“Just the same way he’s been playing,” Hunter said. “He’s a big guy; he’s got a good reach and he’s been played good defensively.”
Schultz had no points and a minus-4 rating in the first round. Watching Game 1 vs. the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, the 26-year-old picked up on the tenor of needing to capitalize on mistakes.
But, as Karl Alzner has pointed out many times, it’s crucial not to dwell too much on errors.
“You can’t be thinking like that because things happen so fast out here that if there’s any doubt in your mind, then something bad is going to happen,” Schultz said. “It’s just positive thoughts and just playing and going as the game’s going and just not worrying about mistakes and stuff. If one happens, just forget about it and move on.”
Schultz hasn’t seen the Rangers since November, but past meetings help with familiarity.
“A little bit. Their system hasn’t changed over the last few years, so we know what to expect and how to play against them,” Schultz said. “It’s just executing and eliminating chances.”
And clamping down on New York’s speed. Everyone said the Bruins are fast, but the Rangers, with the likes of Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider, take it to another level.
“Guys like Gaborik and Richards are real speedy guys. It’s just being aware of where they are on the ice,” Schultz said. “They like to go for those kind of home-run plays every now and then. It’s keeping your head on a swivel and knowing who’s on the ice.”