The New York Rangers have had a very successful month of January.
A 6-2-1 mark in the first month of 2023 has kept the Blueshirts alive in the Metropolitan division with several players standing out in more ways than one.
But after their first drubbing of the new year, a 3-1 beatdown by the NHL points leader in the Boston Bruins, it appears that head coach Gerard Gallant is being proactive with specific line changes. And when there are line changes, chances are the famed “Kid Line” will be placed back together.
According to reports over the weekend, the Rangers shifted their lines again with Artemi Panarin moving to the top line, and the Alexis Lafreniere-Filip Chytil-Kaapo Kakko trio working together again on the third line.
A reason? Because the kids are far more aggressive with each other than without.
“They pass the puck too much…When they are playing on different lines, they try and get too fancy.” Gallant told reporters Sunday afternoon. “We tell them every day in practice ‘We need more people shooting the puck and you young kids are good goal-scorers.”
The Rangers’ head coach also touted the group’s comfort together as a reason for going back to the group as well.
The change comes after New York struggled to maintain offense in their loss to Boston last Thursday. Yet with just three games left until the All-Star Break, the Rangers’ recent success with the trio split up led to raised eyebrows from fans and analysts around the league. In the month of January alone, the Rangers have beaten playoff teams like the Hurricanes, Stars, Wild, and Panthers.
Gallant does have a point though in his latest change. Most of the offensive production has come from their defensive unit recently. In three of their last five contests, the Rangers’ defense has put up five of the 10 goals scored.
New York needs more production from their offense and while players like Kakko and Chytil have certainly stood out and played well all season, the Rangers know they need better results as a whole.
And when the Rangers’ offense is in doubt, the Kid Line is the easiest answer to turn to.