The Rangers have had one of the NHL's most surprising starts to the season at 4-2-1, but when the Blueshirts returned to MSG after a four-game road trip to take on the Calgary Flame it was a surprise for a different reason.
The Flames blew out the Rangers, 5-1, on Monday and while the Garden crowd was certainly disappointed with the result, no one was more frustrated with the team than coach Gerard Gallant, especially with the first period, and he wanted his players to know it.
When the media brought up how some of the Rangers players told them that the coach held a video session during Tuesday's practice, something that doesn’t happen often under Gallant, they asked him if he was sending a message.
Gallant was quick to answer, “definitely,” but just as quickly to respond “No, I’m not sharing” when pressed about what that message was. “You know what the message was, really, I’m not going to tell you, but you know what the message was,” Gallant said with a grin.
“You have to pick your spots or [the video sessions] are not effective,” Gallant said. “Last night was the perfect time. Sometimes you have to show negativity once in a while. I’m usually a positive guy... but when it comes a time to get a little loose, it’s always tough in that first game off a road trip but you can talk about it all you want but we didn’t like what we seen in the first period so we wanted to show the mistakes and make sure the mistakes were there but the bottom line is you gotta prepare yourself to play and we weren’t ready in that first period.”
In said first period, Calgary only took a 1-0 lead but were out-shooting the Rangers 28 to 16. It was a sign of things to come for the Rangers as the Flames dominated the puck for most of the game before blowing it open in the third period with three goals, after the Rangers cut the lead to 2-1, to put the game away.
“You have to take some good out of losses. It’s a long season. You're not going to win 82 games, but it’s disappointing you come off that good road record and come home to your fans and you throw a stinker for the first 20 minutes,” Gallant said. “That’s what’s disappointing, that’s what's frustrating to coach, that’s what’s frustrating to players. They don’t want that to happen.”
“We came out flat, we picked it up after that but it was a little too late,” Gallant added.
The Rangers will look to start their next game on the right foot when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.