NEW YORK — While the New York Rangers roster may be reserved following their 3-1 Game 4 loss to the New Jersey Devils Monday night, their head coach was anything but following the contest.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant pulled no punches following the Blueshirts’ second straight home loss to their arch-rival that tied the first-round playoff series at two. To the Rangers’ leader, it had everything to do with a lack of effort.
“It wasn’t definitely good enough. We ask for something and sometimes when you ask it doesn’t happen but we were disappointed to watch that,” Gallant stated afterward.
It’s been a far cry from how the first two games of the series started out. The Rangers outscored the Devils in New Jersey by a 10-2 margin with dreams of another deep playoff run on the horizon for the fans across New York City. Those dreams have been put on hold if not completely shattered following two straight home losses to the same Devils.
“We come home, and a big crowd, the overtime was a good hockey game. Tonight we didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t compete hard enough. All we did was yap at the linesmen for getting thrown out of the faceoffs. A lot of bad things tonight,” Gallant pushed further on the team’s struggles in Game 4.
With the series tied at two, the Rangers have lost the home-ice advantage they earned after winning twice in Newark. According to New York’s coach, the reason for the lapse in competitiveness came from some on the roster being lazy.
“The first two games we chipped some pucks, but tonight, our weakside wing was a little bit lazy. He stayed on the other side of the ice instead of supporting it. When you’re tired and a little bit lazy, that’s what happens,” Gallant stated.
Even with the team’s recent struggles as a whole, the Rangers head coach has felt that the onus of the team’s poor play should fall directly on the top line.
“That was the difference,” Gallant concluded when asked if the top guys that didn’t provide enough during the game. “We didn’t show up enough.
It’s not uncommon for a head coach to call out his players following a bad loss at any point. Gallant has tried to wake up his roster at times throughout the 2022-23 season. The issue falls on the fact though that with the amount of talent around the club, and with the aspirations that follow, the blame will start to fall directly at the feet of the head coach.
And if the Rangers aren’t careful their season could end much earlier than people were expecting with repercussions facing the entire roster. The question will now directly fall to the players to see if they answer their head coach’s call for a better effort and performance.