2023 New York Rangers Playoffs

Updates from the Rangers on Monday

Gerard Gallant met with the media following Rangers practice today and said (NYR):

  • On expectations and pressure for this year, “I don’t worry about any of that, I worry about getting ready for Game 1 tomorrow night and playing. I don’t worry about that, I know we’re playing a team that I see as pretty competitive and this series could go either way. They are a real good hockey team, I think we’re a real good hockey team, we match up real well from what I see. I don’t worry about all the experience and expectations, my job is to get our team to play the best we can and hopefully we’ll win.”

  • Do you think that the success last year raises the bar for this year, “I don’t think so, no. We expect to go and win the Stanley Cup, that is what we expect to do and Day 1 starts with the playoffs, we’ll see what happens. I think everybody in that room believes we can win the Stanley Cup, I think everybody in that room knows we can lose in the first round if we don’t play our best hockey. It’s a battle, there are no bad teams out there.”
  • What is the challenge of facing the Devils, “we gotta play our best hockey, we gotta manage the puck well. To me, that is the biggest thing, if we manage the puck well and do the good things that….I think that over the two years you look at our team and say that it’s not a real good defensive team. It’s a talented team, skilled team, but you look at the numbers and we are third best in the NHL in goals against. Stuff like that. As coaches, I looked at it last week…I looked at some of the problems that you look at after games as coaches and you are always on the defensive side saying ‘what are we doing wrong? What are we doing wrong?’ and then sometimes you are saying ‘what are we doing good?’ and you look at that stuff and say that it’s pretty good, we’re a pretty good team when we are playing well. I like our chances, I like our group and we’ll see what happens.”
  • Are you going to try and take away the Devils speed, “that is a big part of it, they play real well with their speed, we know what they do. Their coaches, our coaches had too much time the last four days to dissect everything and look at different stuff. They are a talented team, they are a speedy team, but, again, when you are playing in our zone they’ll make some mistakes, they’re a younger team, they got some good young talent, but we gotta worry about playing our game and managing the puck is going to be important for us, doing the right things, playing our game. We got a lot of veterans on our team, a lot of talent, we had a good run last year, which means nothing.”
  • On having more playoff experience than the Devils, “What did I say last year when Pittsburgh had more experience? Means nothing, I truly believe that. Who is ready to play for the next two weeks, I really believe that.”
  • On Chytil building on his playoffs from last season, “I just think he got bigger and stronger and more NHL games, that is the biggest thing for me. They are young kids, you could say the same thing about his two linemates, they are getting more experience, playing more, they are growing up. They aren’t kids anymore, I think  23-22,-21 but they got more games under their belt. They are playing games, meaningful games and I think it goes a long way. Fil got bigger and stronger and played a heavier game and everything else followed.”
  • How does Chytil drive that line, “I think his speed, his talent, he manages the puck real well. I just think that when Fil is going his best he is driving that middle ice with the puck and making things happen, pushing back defensemen and they do a real good job down low. They manage the puck as good as anybody in the NHL in my opinion. Down low they reset pucks a lot, Kaapo moves his feet a lot out of the corners, Laffy is the same way. I think they do a real good job down low.”
  • On experience and growth with players, “Playing NHL games help them grow. I believe that when players play 100-200 games they become NHL players. The first year and a half doesn’t mean a lot, so I think the more games they played…it’s not about big games, we’ve played a lot of big games over the last year, but I’m not saying it was big games, it’s playing NHL games, playing with the Rangers.”
  • On Jack Hughes and do you need to be physical with him, “I look at both teams and I don’t see a physical, banging series. I see fourth lines that are going to bump and grind, I see our players are going to finish checks, but look at our lineup and their lineup, there is not going to be a whole lot of guys running people over,  I don’t see that. I see some defensemen that can hit, fourth lines that are going to play their roles, but I don’t see Jack Hughes going to finish our guys or us going to run over Jack Hughes. He’s a talented guy, has a great hockey IQ, a great young player and he jumped another level this year.”
  • On treating Game 1 and Game 2 as traditional road games, “that is what we did for part of the season, one time we didn’t, the other time we did. I think it’s good, playoff time, you want the guys together and to be around and we’re playing this the same as if we were playing in Carolina.”
  • Does the adversity from last year help for this year, “we’ll find out….I think all those guys grew, had great seasons. K’Andre Miller, Schneider, included. We are more of a veteran team now, but there are still young players and we’ll see where it goes. I think there are two teams that are evenly matched and it’s going to be a great series.”
  • On Shesterkin’s season, “what was the difference….I’m not sure of the numbers, 110 to 107…he was strong, he was good, our team got a little better overall. I just…he’s a great goaltender and when you talk about the best goalies in the playoffs he has to be one of them.”
  • On the playoffs for Shesterkin last year, “Last playoffs wasn’t easy, we were down first series 3-1 and we came back, we were down 2-0 and we came back, we were up 2-0 against the defending champs and we lost. There were lots of ups and downs in those series. You learn a lot from it, but it’s a new year, you turn the page and get ready for this year.”
  • On this rivalry, “I think it’s going to be great, you play a team right across the river there. It’s going to be awesome. I haven’t been part of this rivalry, obviously, but I think it’s going to be fun and real good hockey, two teams that are going to bring it to each other and it should be great hockey.”