Rangers can’t worry about Sidney Crosby

The Penguins and their 16 consecutive playoff appearances — which incorporates their qualifying-round exit within the 2020 bubble playoffs however shouldn’t — is a mentally daunting problem, however the Rangers can solely worry about themselves.

That has been Gerard Gallant’s message since Day 1 of coaching camp and the Rangers head coach continues to be preaching it to his workforce heading into Game 1 of the primary spherical of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh and its Big 3 of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang are going to do what they do. The key for the Rangers, Gallant believes, is to regulate what they’ll management.

“We all know what kind of player he is, but if we’re going to worry about Sidney, then we’re going to have a tough time,” Gallant mentioned after follow Monday at MSG Training Center. “I need us to maintain enjoying the way in which the New York Rangers play. We acquired to worry about our workforce greater than the opposite workforce. We acquired to assume [about] what we’re going to do greater than the opposite workforce. When we begin worrying about the opposite workforce, what they’re going to do to us and also you’re standing behind the eight ball and also you’re hesitating on the ice. We acquired to play our sport.

“That’s what I worry about most: Us playing our game at the top level that we play, with good pace and the way we play our game.”

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant (back right) doesn't want his players worrying about Sidney Crosby.
Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant (again proper) doesn’t need his gamers worrying about Sidney Crosby.
Jason Szenes

The Rangers have lengthy been a workforce that may be its personal worst enemy at instances. It’s a trait that the membership has begun to develop out of with administration’s emphasis on particular person roles and Gallant’s emphasis on having a short-term reminiscence and enjoying to their strengths.

For the higher a part of the second half of the season, Gallant famous that the Rangers considerably improved their play within the defensive zone. They weren’t giving up practically as many photographs on objective or high-danger alternatives as they did at first of the season — and that was a testomony to enhancements on the forecheck and puck possession.

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Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby
Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images

“That’s the way I coach,” he mentioned. “I worry about what our workforce can do in opposition to the opposite workforce. I do know they acquired nice gamers. They acquired star gamers. Every workforce has some nice gamers and Sidney Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin and [Kris] Letang, they’re a unique animal. We all know that.

“But if you’re going to worry about them, then we’re probably not going to play our game the way I want us to play our game. Be aware when they’re on the ice and manage the puck better when they’re on the ice, stuff like that. But it’s about what we’re going to do.”

Gallant’s team-focus strategy has resonated along with his gamers. Alexis Lafreniere was requested about going up in opposition to Crosby in his first playoff sequence, and the 20-year-old admitted it was cool to go up in opposition to the NHLer he drew probably the most comparability to when coming into the league (Both performed for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Rimouski Oceanic and had been first-overall draft picks).

Lafreniere then rapidly shifted and echoed Gallant’s mantra, saying, “the focus is really about us and not about them too much.”

“Because that’s what we can control, really,” Lafreniere mentioned. “How we prepare and the way we’re going to show up. We know they’re a really good team and, you know, we’re a good team, too. So it should be really good matchup and we’ll get ready as much as we can and when the puck drops [Tuesday], we’ll try to play a good game.”

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