Rangers Roundup: Gallant snaps at Lafrenière question; team needs scoring on right wing; and more

gallant lafreniere
Oct 21, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant talks with New York Rangers left wing Alexis Lafreniere (13) during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers blew another one. This time, it was a three goal lead built up in the second period which was cut to two before the third period began.

Edmonton tied the game in the final stanza but Mika Zibanejad picked up the all important go ahead goal at the 7:18 mark. The Blueshirts tried to hold on, but Connor McDavid parted the Rangers’ Red Sea to tie the game. It’s goal of the year worthy, but to cut through 4 defensemen? Certainly not a defensive highlight.

Ultimately, the Oilers other top scorer, Leon Draisaitl won it in OT and completed the comeback. That handed the Rangers back to back blown third period leads costing them the extra point in the standings.

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Gerard Gallant snaps at Lafrenière question

After the game, Gerard Gallant, who always looks like he’d rather be anywhere else than having to talk to the press snapped.

Mollie Walker of the NY Post asked a legitimate question about Alexis Lafrenière’s ice time. The number one pick of the 2020 Draft played a season low 9:02, while saddled on a fourth line with two journeymen in Greg McKegg and Dryden Hunt.

“Are you kidding me? Like seriously Mollie,” an agitated Gallant replied. “The kid played tonight, give it a rest.”

The head coach, who is widely considered a player’s coach may have intended to deflect criticism of Lafrenière’s below average play in recent games, instead brought more attention to it. Gallant obviously has a fiery side, but the question was legitimate and worthy of a better response.

“I thought he was fine,” Gallant continued. “Like there’s nothing more than Lafrenière tonight? Guys scored some good goals, we played some good hockey and you’re going to bring up Lafrenière again? Give the kid a break.”

Indeed! Gallant should give the kid a break.

gerard gallant mollie walker
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

We are not talking about some third round pick here. Matter of fact, we are not even talking about some mid to late first round selection. This is the first overall pick in the draft playing on a fourth line checking role. That’s not exactly going to spark the best out of the the organization’s first ever number 1 pick since the modern draft was adopted.

At worst, Lafrenière should be allowed to work out his issues on the third line with higher skilled players in Filip Chytil and Sammy Blais.

Maybe Gallant was upset with himself for starting Alexandar Georgiev in place of Igor Shesterkin? I mean, the Oilers are likely the best offense in the game this decade. The move probably cost himself the extra point considering Georgiev gave up three bad ones.

On the season, Georgiev’s record is now 1-1-1 with a bloated 4.26 GAA and a sub par .862 SV%. If only Gallant had a better option? Oh wait!

Anyway…back to Lafrenière. Or not.

Rangers need scoring on the right wing

The Blueshirts are 11 games into the season and their first line right wing is Barclay Goodrow. To be fair, he’s been good for the team with three points in his last three games. However, the guy who was signed to lead your bottom six is now being used on the top line. That seems like an issue.

How about Kaapo Kakko? Well, Gallant is lucky Mollie asked about Lafrenière instead of Kakko, who looks lost out there this season. The third year, second overall selection in the 2019 Draft has no points to in 7 games.

Has Kakko been strong on the puck? Yes. Has he been solid defensively? Yes. Has he gone to the net or gotten open for a one-timer enough in order to score? No.

It’s a problem.The Blueshirts need more production on the right side.

Yes, neither Chris Kreider or Alexis Lafrenière seem to like to play the right wing. So what are the Blueshirts going to do about it?

I offer you Phil Kessel in Arizona. The 34 year-old wants out. Gallant seems more interested in winning games (which that’s why he was brought in), rather than developing kids. So, send the Yotes a lottery protected first round pick and stick him on either the first or second line.

I understand the Blueshirts scored five against the Oilers, but they aren’t exactly known for their defense and goaltending. The Flames will present a much stiffer contest offensively tonight.

More scoring, especially on the right side would be a plus.

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Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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