Gerard Gallant remains positive but is not pleased with New York Rangers performance

new york rangers
Oct 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; The New York Rangers bench during the third period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. New York defeated Seattle 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers left Seattle with a 3-1 victory over the Kraken. A game where they found a way to win despite inexplicably dropping their compete level for about 40 minutes.

“Second period we stopped playing, lost every face-off” an agitated Gerard Gallant said afterwards. “Disappointing. Frustrating, but we found a way and Igor (Shesterkin) was the main reason.”

While the Rangers are enjoying a nice start with 13 points on the strength of a 6-2-1 record, there’s a lot of work to do.

Rangers need to find more consistency

Anyone with an unbiased and critical eye would note that last night was the fourth such time they won a game they shouldn’t have.

The first was a 2-1 OT win in Toronto, where Shesterkin stopped 40 of 41 Leafs’ shots. It happened again versus the Senators two games later. A three goal barrage late in the third with Georgiev in net, salvaged that one.

New York came home the next game and were handed their lunches by the big, physical Flames 5-1. All seemed well when they immediately bounce back with their best performance of the season against the Blue Jackets. Then last night, they managed only four shots against the Kraken from the second period on until Adam Fox saved them late in the third.

There’s something to be said for finding ways to win games when you don’t have it. A 3-1 record in contests they should’ve lost is great, but it’s not something a good team does to achieve long-term success.

Once again, the veteran bench boss maintained a positive outlook. He continues to show a keen understanding of when to turn up the heat and when to throttle it back down.

“I talked about it in between periods,” Gallant said about how to correct the issues. “We got two points at that’s huge. I’ll look at the standings in the morning and feel a lot better than I did tonight. But at practice I can’t go out and skate the guys, and kill them. I can’t say ‘that’s what you get for playing bad hockey’ when we have another game the next night in Vancouver.”

In the end, he focused finding a way to win but trust me when I say Gallant is not letting this go.

Igor Shesterkin has been the difference

igor shesterkin
Oct 31, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) blocks a goal shot with his chest during the first period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Igor Shesterkin leads all NHL goalies in road wins with 4 and a 0.99 GAA. He also has a stellar .970 SV% away from the Garden which is why he is the road warrior.

“We can sing his praises for four days,” Fox said after his game-winner in Seattle. “But I mean, he keeps us in every game and you never feel like you’re out, ever. It’s a tie game, and he keeps it that way. And obviously, we got one, so I can’t say enough good things.”

On the season, Shesty as his teammates call him, is 5-1-1 with a 1.70 GAA and .947 SV%. These are Vezina winning numbers, but they can’t expect him to keep this up. Not without help and a complete effort from all five players on the ice.

“He’s the sole factor how we won that game,” Barclay Goodrow said. “We owe [Shesterkin] a lot better. As forwards we need to be better in getting the puck out and winning puck battles. We have to better and we will be against Vancouver.”

Music to Shesty’s ears.

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