It’s been quite the roller coaster season for the New York Rangers.
After starting the season at a mediocre 10-9-4 start and several questions surrounding the future of the club, New York has been one of the most dominant teams in hockey. Since December 5th, the Rangers are 32-10-5. They are third in the NHL in points, wins, and power play percentage during that span as well.
The team’s recent run of wins has secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season and third in the last four seasons – even if their head coach won’t admit to being a key reason.
“It took us a little bit to get going but once we got going we’re a pretty good team. The talent, skill throughout our lineup, great goaltending all the way through so I don’t think it’s been one thing, it’s been a team effort.” Gallant told AMNY before Tuesday night’s game against Columbus.
New York had plenty of talent going into the 2022-23 season but finding the right combination of lines to make it work has always been a work in progress. To that point, Gallant has excelled in his second season as the leader of the Rangers organization.
From operating on the league minimum of rostered players shortly before the trade deadline to getting the team to win games with some of their key players out, Gallant has had the roster prepped and ready to win on a nightly basis.
Even when the Rangers acquired top players like Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane, the challenge of incorporating their skills into what the team was already doing is a challenge for any coaching staff.
“There’s a lot of good hockey players on our team. They defend the puck and he (Kane) makes great plays when he has the puck. He’s adjusting and the team is adjusting. It’s coming.” Gallant explained.
New York’s latest challenge will be continuing their strong play after already securing a playoff spot. With nine games left in the regular season, and matchups against struggling teams like Columbus, St. Louis, and Washington upcoming, the Rangers will be looking to their coach to set the example of staying sharp before the playoffs.
“It’s going to be a mental par. You get paid to come here and get ready to play and win hockey games. There are nine games left. You don’t take any games off no matter who you’re playing.” Gallant concluded.
There hasn’t been a coach in Rangers’ history that has had the regular season success the Rangers have had since Gerard Gallant became the coach last season. His two-year run has the highest winning percentage in the franchise’s illustrious coaching history for those who stayed longer than two seasons.
Having his team prepared and ready for another deep playoff run will be the only thing he is measured by as the calendar gets closer to April.
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