Gallant: Rangers to focus on their game, not Sydney Crosby and co.
It was one last practice for the New York Rangers on Monday before the volume is turned up to 11 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday for the return of playoff hockey in the world’s most famous arena.
The Rangers, who secured home ice by placing second in the Metro Division, will face the Penguins, an opponent they defeated in two of their last three playoff meetings (2014, 2015 - they lost in 2016, 4-1, in a first-round matchup).
The Penguins have the longest active streak for consecutive playoff appearances (15) in all major North American sports leagues.
Head coach Gerard Gallant said as great as future Hall of Famer Sydney Crosby is, the Rangers need to worry about themselves.
“I know they got great players. They got star players. Every team has some great players. Sydney Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin and [Kris] Letang – they are a different animal,” said Gallant. “…If you're going to worry about them, we're probably not going to play our game the way I want us to play our game.”
Rangers’ goalie Igor Shesterkin, a surefire Vezina Trophy candidate, said that he reached out to his friend Ilya Sorokin, to discuss the feel of playoff hockey. Sorokin has played in the postseason the previous two seasons with the Islanders.