The New York Rangers started the Gerard Gallant era with a dud against the Washington Capitals that left them discussing various aspects that went wrong.
The Rangers hope to avoid facing questions about a poor performance when they return to New York for their home opener against the Stars on Thursday night. Dallas wants to make its debut in the season.
The Rangers version of Gallant started the season with a 5-1 loss on national television in Washington on Wednesday. New York’s new emphasis on physical play was one of the factors that sent the team to an unbalanced loss, especially when the Rangers took nine penalties and allowed three power-play goals.
“I thought the physique was good,” said Rangers defenseman Adam Fox. “Maybe a little too many penalties, but I think the physical aspect was more of a media story than inside of us. We were trying to come here and win a hockey game and obviously we didn’t.
Chris Kreider scored New York’s lone goal. His power-play goal came after the Rangers fell 4-0 down and started moving away from their game, according to Gallant. The new coach will be behind the bench for New York’s first home game since being outscored 10-5 in two home losses to Washington on May 3-5.
After the first of those two losses knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs, the team fired team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton. The Rangers sacked coach David Quinn a week later after the regular season ended.
Gallant said of his first game as manager: “I was very happy with the way we played the first half. We contained them. You walk into this building, they have six or seven shots. after 33 minutes, so I was pretty happy with the way the game was going. After that third goal, we were a different team. We changed our game (and) we started taking high risk games. “
As the Rangers made a late return to New York, Dallas is set for a season-opener four-game road trip after following a run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals by missing the playoffs in 2021. After losing in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2019 Championship, the Stars were 23-19-14 and missed the playoffs by four points.
The Stars are mostly coming back from the same cast for a season that many consider the end of their championship window due to the fact that several key players are out of contract, as is coach Rick Bowness.
“We know the situation with our team, where we have a good balance between the older guys and the younger guys, kind of a perfect mix,” said Dallas center Tyler Seguin. “We know there are some essentials coming out of the deals right now, and we don’t miss it. We know we have a great team on paper, but paper doesn’t mean anything.”
Dallas is also hoping Seguin will be back at full strength after being limited to three games in the shortened season following hip and knee surgeries. Seguin scored 17 goals two seasons ago and finished with 13 points in the Stars’ unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Final.
“Everyone is excited,” said Seguin. “It was like a long camp because we haven’t really had one lately. But everyone is ready and pumped up.”
Seguin has spent this week training on the same line as Jamie Benn and his veteran colleague Alexander Radulov. Radulov missed training on Wednesday due to an illness unrelated to COVID 19, but the Stars were hoping he would play the season opener.
– Field level media