RALEIGH, N.C. — If we’ve learned anything through the Rangers’ nine playoff games thus far, it’s that practice isn’t always a reflection of what head coach Peter Laviolette will put on the ice. 

Since the Blueshirts dropped their first two games in a row since mid-April, however, lineup changes were anticipated and such appeared to be the case during practice Wednesday. 

After deploying K’Andre Miller with Braden Schneider and Jacob Trouba with Erik Gustafsson in the past 11 games dating back to the regular season, including all nine postseason contests, Laviolette had the defensive pairs skating the way they did for a majority of the season. 

That reunited Miller with Trouba and Schneider with Gustafsson, an alignment that served as the back end to a majority of the Rangers’ success this season. 

“It may or may not be exactly how it was out there today with everybody,” Laviolette forewarned after practice Wednesday at MSG Training Center in Tarrytown. “In speaking with Miller and Trouba, there’s a lot of experience there. They’ve played a long time together, a lot of minutes together. I still feel like, no matter where we go on the back end, we still have really good balance of defensemen that are experienced and a lot of confidence in the group of six. 

“They definitely have experience playing together, a lot of experience. I think no matter which direction we go, we’ve got a great group of six out there on the ice in the game. “ 

The Miller-Schneider pairing has been strong, but the Trouba-Gustafsson duo has gotten caved in a bit the past few games.

Trouba, in particular, has been on the ice for eight of the Hurricanes’ past 11 goals. 

Putting Trouba back with Miller, with whom the Rangers’ captain has logged more minutes next to than any other blueliner since arriving on Broadway, could be what the club needs to balance out the pairs. 

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“We’ve played a lot of good games together,” Trouba said of skating with Miller. “Played a lot of good hockey together. There’s obviously a comfortability there for both of us playing together for so long. When Key is on his game, he’s a difference-maker, he’s a game-changer. He has the ability to take over games. I want to help him try to be the best player he can as much as he wants to help me.” 

Chris Kreider did not skate during the practice Wednesday due to “maintenance,” according to the team. 

“I’m hoping that today was just a normal playoff maintenance,” Laviolette said. 

Filip Chytil was a full participant in practice and is considered available for Game 6, but Laviolette said where a player is at and how they’re feeling is also being taken into consideration. 

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