Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant on Game 4 loss: 'We were soft all over the ice'

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Gerard Gallant straight face on bench
Gerard Gallant straight face on bench

It’s not too often that a head coach calls his own team “soft”, so when it happens it grabs everyone’s attention.

And that’s precisely what happened when Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant called his squad “soft” about three or four times after their 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 on Monday night.

“We played soft, we were soft all over the ice,” he said. “That’s the biggest difference, we were soft all over the ice.”

Two nights after losing 7-4 (and falling behind 4-1 in the first period), the Rangers knew they needed to come out much stronger to be able to beat the Penguins — which they did. For about 10 minutes.

Alexis Lafreniere scored just over two minutes into the game to give his team an early 1-0 lead, and it appeared the Blueshirts had put Game 3’s loss well behind them.

But about nine minutes later, Sidney Crosby tied the game at one which is where it stood after the first period. Then, the flood gates opened as the Rangers allowed five goals in the second period.

“There wasn’t much commitment to playing defense tonight…” Gallant said. “…I don’t like what I saw tonight. Real disappointed in our group.”

That much was clear to anybody watching the game. Even the players knew.

“Not good enough tonight,” Jacob Trouba said. “I think anybody watching the game could see that. We could see it playing the game… I don’t think you’re gonna find a guy who was happy with that performance… we know we gotta do better.”

If the Rangers don’t do better — now down in the series 3-1 — they run the risk of an early exit from the playoffs which would be a major disappointment after winning 52 games and finishing in second place in the Metropolitan Division this season.

But the reality is, New York now needs to win three games in a row to keep its season alive. And after two inauspicious games in Pittsburgh, that’s looking less and less likely.

“Your back’s now against the wall,” Trouba said. “You gotta win three in a row. That’s what’s in front of us, take it one game at a time.”

And despite getting pulled early for the second straight game, Igor Shesterkin, who was reportedly named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy earlier on Monday, will get the starting nod once again in Game 5, according to Gallant.

So, it’s going to take him and everybody else on the team to “pull together and do what we can to win Game 5,” Andrew Copp said.

For now, though, Gallant put it best when describing what happened on Monday night: “Disappointing. Total team disappointment.”