Rangers slow start an unfunny joke for Gerard Gallant, lose 3-2 in OT to Sabres
The New York Rangers slow starts are no laughing matter for head coach Gerard Gallant.
While the team may have been playing yet another set of back-to-back contests (their 15th of the season), it was no excuse for a first period where they only mustered two shots, surrendered 11, and gave up a goal.
It wasn’t until about midway through the game where the team found its desire to compete and salvaged a point before falling in overtime.
“Another great start again, it’s typical,” Gallant said sarcastically. “The last five or six games have been a joke. We didn’t play well. We had one line show up tonight and play hard every shift. We were fortunate to get a point.”
The head coach only became more upset as his post game presser continued.
“I’m pissed off tonight,” he made clear. “We clinched a week ago, and it seems like they think the season is over. It’s not the way it works. There’s no message. You show up and play NHL hockey games. You play like that people get hurt. You get run over in your own zone and people get tired. You’ve got to respect the goaltender and your defense. We’re not playing the game the right way.”
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New York Rangers fall to Sabres
The Rangers have only six more games to get their act together before the playoffs start. They sit at 99 points and are currently three points behind the Devils for home-ice advantage in the first round. It should be noted that New Jersey has a game in hand.
New York was coming off a hard fought 2-1 loss to the Devils on Thursday night. Another game where a slow start led to the eventual defeat. In that opening period, the Rangers were outshot 14-8 and allowed both goals. Yet it was far better than what happened last night.
In Buffalo, the Rangers top six forwards almost looked like they couldn’t be bothered to play with any sense of urgency. The team registered just two shots allowing the Sabres’ top goalie prospect Devon Levi to get real comfortable.
It also helped the 21 year-old netminder making his NHL debut to get a two goal cushion thanks to JJ Peterka and Jordan Greenway. By the time the Rangers got going, throwing 22 shots his way in the third and overtime, he was spectacular.
“Not a good start,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “We’ve got to get ready to play at the start of a game. We get to our game at some point, but we’ve got to get to it earlier and the the start of the game would probably be best.”
Kaapo Kakko registered his 15th goal of the season after tipping home a deflected Filip Chytil shot in the second period. Alexis Lafreniere registered the other helper as they were the line that Gallant said showed up.
Adam Fox would notch the equalizer in the final frame after a flurry of activity in Levi’s crease. Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte assisted on the tally.
The Rangers got some early chances in overtime including a wicked Artemi Panarin shot that Levi appeared to save with his goalie mask.
Jeff Skinner scored the winner 1:50 into the extra session, as he went through three weak stick checks to beat Jaroslav Halak, who made 31 saves.
“We were pretty sloppy all over the ice,” Goodrow explained. “The third was a little bit better but you can’t expect to win only putting 20 minutes together.”
The Rangers will be back at it on Sunday in Washington to take on the Capitals at 1 PM ET.