Gerard Gallant says some Rangers ‘didn’t do themselves any favors’

Gerard Gallant was not a happy head coach. The New York Rangers didn’t give up a lot shots to the Boston Bruins, but they did allow way too many high danger chances in a 5-4 loss on Wednesday night.

David Pastrnak, David Krejci, and Pavel Zacha had a field days against the Blueshirts as they were involved in 4 of the 5 goals the Bruins scored. As a line, they combined for 8 points in the game.

“First period we had some energy but after that we played too loose, gave them too many chances, and committed a lot of turnovers,” a displeased Gerard Gallant said after the loss.

Jaroslav Halak, who was not scheduled to start, struggled for most of the game making only 21 saves on 26 Bruins shot. That included a brutal second period where he allowed 3 on only 5.

Igor Shesterkin was announced as the starter and even led the team out for warmups, but a stomach issue prevented him from playing.

“He’s fine, a little stomach flu that’s it,” Gallant noted. “Whether we play him Saturday we’ll see. But he was scheduled to play tonight.”

Gerard Gallant not happy with several players

vitali kravtsov new york rangers
Apr 6, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Vitali Kravtsov #74 of the New York Rangers prepares to skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2021 in New York City.. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers were finally able to get their new second line together for an exhibition game. It did not go well.

Vincent Trocheck was in between Artemi Panarin and Vitali Kravtsov but the results were disastrous. As line, they were a -2 and collectively were a -7 for the contest, with Panarin (-3) on ice for a goal against without them.

Of the three, Kravtsov is most likely on the bubble regarding which line he will play on. When the head coach was specifically asked about his performance, he decided to go well beyond one player.

“I didn’t like our game tonight, not just [Kravtsov],” he stated. “A lot of them didn’t do themselves favors with tonight’s game. Hopefully they’ll get back and play better than they did tonight. A lot of guys are battling for jobs but it wasn’t a good game for a lot of those guys tonight.”

Without having the specificity of what players, it’s hard to determine just who Gallant is referencing.

One thing that Gallant stressed was the Kid Line of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko, and Alexis Lafreniere were very good. He also said that Sammy Blais stood out and Jimmy Vesey played well on the first line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.

So aside from the obvious difficult night of the second line, that leaves Gustav Rydahl and Barclay Goodrow. Both players were actually solid in the contest and finished with an even rating. Rydahl, who is battling Ryan Carpenter for the fourth line spot had 4 hits and won 58% of his face-offs.

On defense, K’Andre Miller had the biggest gaffe of the game with an ill-advised pass at the top of the blue-line that speedy Pavel Zacha stole and scored on the ensuing breakaway. That happened just 36 seconds into the second period with the Rangers up 3-1 at the time. It was all downhill from there.

Matter of fact, it was the odd pairing of Libor Hajek and Matt Bartkowski that finished the game even with an assist each.

What’s next for the Rangers?

The Rangers will play their final preseason game on Saturday against the Islanders. So what can we expect?

First off, it’s more likely than not that Dryden Hunt, Ryan Carpenter, and Ryan Reaves will get into the game. Who comes out? Most likely the entire fourth line of Blais, Rydahl, and Goodrow from Wednesday night.

The defense may look the same since Ryan Lindgren is considered day-to-day. If he and Fox play, expect Miller and Trouba to come out.

What I’m most interested to see on Saturday is if Gallant breaks up the Kid Line. If not, does the second line stay intact?

“If they’re playing that way I’d like to keep them together,” he said. “But I have to get the other guys going too.”

The Rangers will practice today at 11:30 AM ET at the MSG Training Center.

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