Gerard Gallant upset with his ‘soft’ New York Rangers

There was Gerard Gallant on Monday night fulfilling his duties as an NHL head coach after his New York Rangers embarrassed themselves in a crucial Game 4 in Pittsburgh.

“Total team disappointment,” he said with a laugh that was acting as cover for his anger.

The New York Rangers had grabbed the momentum thanks to an inexperienced kid in Alexis Lafrenière early in the first. But due to an experienced veteran’s careless use of the stick, I’m looking at you Patrik Nemeth, Sidney Crosby was able to tie the game on the power play and change the entire complexion of the contest.

“[The issues are] not from the inexperienced guys, either,” Gallant explained. “Tonight you’re seeing a lot of soft, bad plays by a lot of people. It was a team effort tonight.”

Where are the New York Rangers?

Gallant, who is going to be up for the Jack Adams Award is completely right. Scapegoating Nemeth would be an injustice to the awful play of his top stars.

Where is Mika Zibanejad? He’s mustered a total of 4 assists in this series but has been wildly outplayed by Sidney Crosby.

Where is Ryan Strome? He has registered 1 goal and 2 assists but has been miserable in the face-off circle at 41%.

Where is Jacob Trouba? He has just 1 assist in this series and has committed 9 giveaways.

Where is Adam Fox? Despite putting up 4 points in his first ever playoff series, he looks completely lost in his own zone without Ryan Lindgren, who is nursing an injury.

Where is Artemi Panarin? Yes, he has 5 points but 3 of them came in the Rangers only win in this series (Game 2). He is the team’s best offensive player but has struggled to be the game-breaker needed this time of year.

I could go on and on, but Igor Shesterkin shouldn’t be fully absolved either.

Yes, the Rangers defense has been more porous than a cheap sponge, but he has looked extremely shaky in the face of a hostile Pittsburgh crowd that relentlessly mock chants his name.

Gallant: ‘Soft all over the ice’

new york rangers
May 9, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Kasperi Kapanen (42) moves the puck around New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) during the second period in game four of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In what amounted to be about a two minute press conference, Gerard Gallant used the word ‘soft’ to describe his team a total of 5 times.

The Pittsburgh Penguins, aside from Game 2 have basically had their way with the New York Rangers.

Crosby has 9 points in this series, with linemates Jake Guentzel scoring 5 goals and Bryan Rust with 5 points. Defenseman Mike Matheson is becoming a star with 5 points of his own.

“We played soft,” Gallant fumed. “That’s the biggest difference. We were soft all over the ice.”

There’s been way too much stick checking and looking around in the d-zone by all five players on the ice at any given time. So when Gallant says the team is soft, that’s what he means.

“There wasn’t much commitment to playing defense tonight,” Gallant said. “I don’t like what I saw.”

MSG Analyst, Steve Valiquette noted that Gallant has been a fierce defender of his team, but using the word ‘soft’ to call them out after Game 4 is the biggest criticism he could’ve handed out.

How will the Rangers respond to a public call out of the worst kind?

That remains to be seen and a response that I’m sure GM Chris Drury is going to use in his offseason decisions.

New York Rangers need to take it one at a time

The New York Rangers now find themselves down 3 – 1 in a series with an experienced Penguins team that knows how to handle momentum swings.

Starting to even think about if they can pull off a feat few teams have accomplished in playoff history is just too big a hill to climb at the moment.

For the Rangers, they now have to get back to basics, play some damn defense, and let Igor Shesterkin win them a game 2-1.

“It was not on [Shesterkin] at all,” Andrew Copp said. “It’s going to be up to every guy to pull together and do what we can to win Game 5.”

That’s exactly what this team is going to have to do. They may also want to burn the tape of their latest debacle.

“We have to forget it, go home and do what we can to win a Game 5,” Jacob Trouba said.

NHL Playoffs

The Colorado Avalanche have advanced by sweeping the Predators. Plus the Penguins trample the Rangers, and the Flames and Panthers even their series. Read More.