It’s crazy to think that just a week ago, the New York Rangers season was on the cusp of collapse and a potential coaching change could be on the horizon.
A three-goal third period last Monday set the stage for New York to rattle off four straight wins against the NHL’s best teams and cement themselves back in the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
There are many reasons for the quick turnaround with the Rangers. Perhaps none as stark as what has happened with the coaching staff. On two separate occasions during the Rangers’ four-game winning streak, Gallant has altered his lines quickly and effectively. Almost immediately the results followed.
In Monday’s 4-3 comeback overtime win over the Devils, the Rangers fell behind 3-1 early in the contest before Gallant switched his lines up.
“You gotta do something as a coach. I want to keep the lines as they were but I wasn’t liking what I was seeing.” Gallant told AMNY after the game.
New York’s head coach may be disappointed with the amount of line changes he has had to make, but no one can deny his quick adjustments have led to the Rangers’ recent success. New York put up two goals in seven seconds to tie the game at three before Filip Chytil chipped in the overtime goal for the win.
Gallant’s changes reflect a team that is desperate to get back into the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In doing so, New York has beaten the Colorado Avalanche, the Vegas Golden Knights, and the New Jersey Devils in a row.
The Rangers aren’t out of the woods yet, but their coach is certainly putting the entire team on notice he isn’t afraid to make changes if someone isn’t playing well. Captain Jacob Trouba is the latest example of that. After having two giveaways in five minutes resulting in an early 2-0 deficit, Trouba was bumped down a pairing and worked with Libor Hajek for most of the game.
Yet Gallant’s players responded to the challenge that was before them, and turned in one of the more impressive wins they have had this season.
“It’s not too great having that desperation early, but I think we did a good job of sticking to what we were doing and knowing that it was coming.” K’Andre Miller explained afterward.
Four wins in a row against the leagues best isn’t something to gloss over. While Igor Shesterkin and the players as a whole will get a major confidence boost, it’s Gerard Gallant’s quick adjustments that have been the key factor to the Rangers’ best run of the season.