Rangers not looking for excuses; they’re looking for consistency
There was a theme for the New York Rangers after practice today and that is consistency.
“You want to keep doing the things the things you’re doing and doing them a little bit better,” head coach Gerard Gallant said of the time to practice. “Our record is pretty good (7-3-3), but we can still play a lot better and we know that as a group.”
The focus this week was not on X’s and O’s but on putting an emphasis on playing without the puck. Another thing that Gallant would like to do is try and keep his lines together.
“We’ve made a lot more changes (on line combinations) than I want,” he admitted. “Hopefully we can stay healthy and get a little traction going.”
Rangers not looking for excuses
The team will hit the road to play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, then they will need to hop a plane back to host the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Rangers will have another home game against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday to complete the dreaded three games in four nights feat.
“It’s an Olympic year. You’ve got a lot of three in fours that’s part of every team’s schedule,” Gallant said. “We’ve had a nice little break here and now it’s ready to get back.”
Over the next 9 days, the team will play 6 times including two back-to-back sets. It will be a test for this team and no one is looking for excuses.
“It’s matter of settling into doing what we need to do every night regardless of what the other team’s doing,” Chris Kreider, who leads the team with 9 goals explained.
As far as the lack of continuity with line mates, the veteran didn’t want to hear it.
“We’re professional hockey players so you’ve got to do what you do well regardless of what your position is or who you’re playing with,” Kreider said. “When everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing it makes everyone else’s job easier.”
With two back-to-backs, Alexandar Georgiev will be called into action and will need to step up despite only playing three games this season.
“I don’t want to give myself excuses,” Georgiev opined on his struggles. “Just focus on my game. Every day come to the rink here with the guys trying to improve.”
Chytil unlikely to travel; and Sammy the Bull
New York Rangers center, Filip Chytil is unlikely to make the trip and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
“Probably not, but he skated for a half hour before we got on the ice (today),” Gallant said about Chytil being ready.
The 22 year-old left early in the first period against the Calgary Flames after an accidental collision with teammate Sammy Blais.
Speaking of Blais, Chris Kreider revealed his nickname after practice.
“Impressions of [Blais] as a guy, he’s got a terrific attitude,” he said. “On the ice, we call him ‘Bull’ for a reason. He’s very physical. For a guy who plays with a chip like he does, he’s got tremendous skill and poise. He’s very easy to play with.”
Blais, 25, has 4 assists in 12 games this season. Against the Florida Panthers he was placed on the top line with Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. He played a solid 14:22 with an even rating and no points. Blais is expected to remain on that line in Columbus.
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