Gallant not pleased with Rangers’ “soft” effort against Nashville

adam fox
Dec 12, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) reacts after getting tripped against the Nashville Predators during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers knew they were going to have a tough matchup against a very hard-nosed hockey team. Nashville came into the Garden last night and took it to the Blueshirts in the first period outhitting them 20-8. Despite the 1-0 final, where Juuse Saros was the difference, head coach Gerard Gallant voiced his displeasure with team.

“I didn’t like any of the game to be honest. We played too soft,” he said. “We didn’t play a hard enough game. It was a man’s game, and we didn’t play it.”

Shorthanded Predators shutout Rangers

Juuse Saros made 16 of his 32 saves in the third period for his second shutout of the season and the visiting Nashville Predators ran their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday night.

Saros recorded his 16th career shutout and joined Tomas Vokoun (2006) as the second Predators’ goalie to blank the Rangers in team history.

The Predators completed a three-game sweep in the New York area getting one-goal wins over the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils thanks to Saros and a defense that blocked 14 shots in front of him.

Rookie Philip Tomasino scored against the Rangers for the second time this year as Nashville improved to 16-6-1 in its past 23 games on a night when leading scorer Matt Duchene missed a second straight game with an upper-body injury and Ryan Johansen was placed in the COVID-19 protocol shortly before the opening faceoff.

The Rangers were blanked for the second time and lost for only the third time in 15 games.

Rangers understand the effort wasn’t good enough

gerard gallant
Dec 8, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant reacts during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

To a man, every Blueshirt understood that their effort coming out of the gate was not good enough. It’s not like they didn’t know what the Predators were going to do.

“We started kind of slow,” Julien Gauthier said in between periods. “They came out strong. We were expecting it but we weren’t fully ready for it. We got adjusted to it after and now we’re giving them a good game.”

The Rangers leading goal scorer Chris Kreider, who has 17 goals and is now on his longest goal-less streak of the season (3 games) was frustrated.

“There are going to be those stretches, but we’ve got to continue to stick to the process, stick to the things that we’ve done that have given us success,” he said. “Over the last few games, there have been moments we’ve gotten away from that entirely.”

Gallant took little solace in the team’s response in the final 40 minutes. “It looked like we weren’t ready to play in the first,” he lamented.

Jacob Trouba, who has been one of the Rangers best players this season kept it a little more upbeat. “It wasn’t our best start,” he said. “It’s something we can improve on going forward.”

That improvement needs to come quick as they are on their way to Colorado for a rematch against the Avalanche. A team that gave the Rangers their biggest beating of the season just a few days ago 7-3.

A full 60 and nothing less is what it will take to rebound for the Rangers. If not, another defeat could be on the horizon. They haven’t lost two regulation games in a row all year.

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–Field Level Media contributed to this report.