New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant used a common expletive to describe his thoughts on his team’s performance against the New York Islanders on Friday night.
A day later, Gallant was ready to move on, and the Rangers will attempt to rebound from the clunker when they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
The Rangers (44-20-5, 93 points) are 8-3-0 in their past 11 contests, but two of their worst showings of the season have come in that span. One was a 7-4 loss to the New Jersey Devils on March 22, when they allowed five goals in the second period, and the other was the 3-0 home loss to the Islanders two days ago.
Friday’s loss snapped a four-game winning streak and saw the Rangers allow a goal within the first five minutes of each period — each occurring after key miscues.
Alexis Lafreniere made an errant clearing pass ahead of the first goal, defenseman Jacob Trouba lost the puck moments before the second goal and blue-liner Braden Schneider fell down in the neutral zone and lost possession of the puck right before the third goal.
“I don’t want to talk about (Friday) night, but we talked about it briefly,” Gallant told reporters after practice on Saturday. “Sometimes it drags on a little longer. It dragged on a little longer this morning. It’s 82 games, honestly, and the way I look at it, the quicker I forget about stuff, the better.”
The subpar effort cost the Rangers a chance to improve their positioning in the Metropolitan Division race, especially since the first-place Carolina Hurricanes and third-place Pittsburgh Penguins took regulation losses Saturday. New York is five points behind Carolina and one ahead of Pittsburgh.
“We’ve got 13 games left in the year, and it’s a crucial time for us, making sure our game is in top order, and we’re playing the best we can and our habits are good and we’re competing,” New York’s Barclay Goodrow told reporters. “We have 13 games left in the season to get our game in the right direction and feel confident in ourselves.”
Philadelphia (21-36-11, 53 points) has been outscored 21-11 during a four-game losing streak and allowed four third-period goals during Saturday’s 6-3 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It marked the 11th time this season the Flyers allowed at least six goals.
The most notable aspect of Philadelphia’s latest loss was veteran defenseman Keith Yandle being a healthy scratch. Yandle saw his NHL record for consecutive games played halted at 989. He broke the previous record of 965 held by Doug Jarvis on Jan. 25 when Philadelphia visited the Islanders.
“We’re at the point in the season where as an organization it’s important we get some young players in,” Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo said. “We have to have an eye on the future and what’s coming down the road. We have to give some new guys an opportunity.”
Yandle, who played 103 games for the Rangers in 2015 and 2016, was replaced by rookie Ronnie Attard. Attard played 15:53 and was on the ice for four goals in his NHL debut.
The Flyers were without Scott Laughton, who missed his 11th straight game with a concussion. Laughton was cleared to resume skating and could return Sunday.
–Field Level Media