The enthusiasm in Jacob Trouba’s voice was palpable when the captain began talking about Braden Schneider and Zac Jones, two of the Rangers’ young defensemen who have prospered with additional time and responsibility when a spate of injuries struck on the back end.

Schneider was a revelation in moving up to the top-four alongside K’Andre Miller when Trouba was sidelined for 11 games with a lower-body injury before returning on Saturday in Arizona. Jones has been very impressive in shedding his seventh defenseman designation while playing a career-high 13 straight games filling in for myriad injured teammates.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Schneids the way he stepped in and played and Jonesy scoring goals and playing well,” Trouba told The Post in advance of Monday’s match at the Garden against the also-ran Penguins. “These are guys who have worked hard the last couple of years and I’ve gotten to know deeper than just hockey.

“You like seeing those guys get rewarded for their work, their time and their efforts and how good of teammates they are. Jonesy not playing much the last couple of years and now coming in and playing well, everyone in here is excited for him, I’m excited for him.

“In years past, when guys would score and it was like, ‘Yah, we scored.’ Now, we’re all excited for each other,” No. 8 said. “If Laff [Alexis Lafreniere] scores a goal, guys are fired up for that. That’s a special thing this late in the year. It doesn’t really matter who’s scoring or who’s making the play, guys are excited for everyone.”

And that, according to Trouba, is largely due to the dynamic that has been instilled by head coach Peter Laviolette from Day 1. The Rangers are charging to the finish line of one of the best seasons in franchise history 11 months after their sweet dreams and flying machines were left in pieces on the ground in Newark last spring.

There was, of course, a coaching change after the seven-game defeat to the Devils exposed dysfunction in the ranks. Gerard Gallant, whose laissez-faire approach resonated with the group until it didn’t, was replaced by Laviolette, detail-oriented to an extreme, who preached structure and unity from Day 1.

Trouba focused on the yin when I asked what Laviolette brought to the group that might have been missing. Laviolette presents a stern visage, he is not a cavalcade of high jinks, but there is a touchy-feely side to the 59-year-old that seems contradictory in nature.

But it’s not. It is what Laviolette has been throughout his career. While Laviolette was still a candidate for the job before he was hired, multiple folks talked about the sense of community the coach and his wife, Kristen, cultivates.

“One of the most important things he brought was positive energy from the start,” said No. 8. “Even if something negative were to happen, negativity wasn’t the focus, it’s always focusing on the positive.

“And I think that has infiltrated into our team. It’s all about positivity.”

Of course, you have to be able to play, too. When I asked Jimmy Vesey about the qualities Laviolette instilled in the team, the winger’s response focused on the yang of it all:

“The easy answer is, structure,” No. 26 said. “Every team has some sort of structure but I think the 1-3-1 is something that we can fall back on if we’re going through a stretch where we’re giving up too much and can lean on much like a security blanket. We didn’t have that last year.

“Secondly, just the emphasis on defending. I think we defend pretty hard, especially lately. We just went through a gauntlet of teams and you’re not going to be perfect in your game but we haven’t given up much.

“I think we defend hard,” Vesey said. “He emphasizes closing in our end and getting in your opponent’s pocket. That frustrates teams. And I think the 1-3-1 has started to frustrate teams lately. Maybe we’ve gotten better at it.”

There’s touchy-feely. There’s playing with an edge. It’s the black-and-white cookie. It’s the post-practice huddle. More yin from the captain:

“It’s kind of a moment of unity and care,” Trouba said. “At the end of the day it’s caring about each other, caring about your teammates on a deeper level than just working together. That would apply to any job, not just hockey. You have an appreciation for each other that translates to everything.

“At times, the hockey can get hard and stressful. If someone does get down or is dealing with issues, you kind of pull them back into the circle of the whole. The core of the team is positivity. And I think that’s done a lot for us this year, keeping our attitude up, our energy up.”

Finally, more yang from Vesey:

“Last year wasn’t the ending any of us foresaw and I think there was definitely a recognition that we needed more structure,” he said. “I think his track record and system has been perfect for us.

“It was a pretty hard training camp, there was emphasis on competition and battling. It all ties into defending harder, being hard to play against.

“I think it’s been a perfect match.”

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