Gerard Gallant must reunite Kid Line to bring energy back to Rangers

The line combinations were not the root cause of the Rangers’ travails Thursday in their 3-1 Game 5 loss to the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C., which was not nearly as close on the ice as it was on the scoreboard. 

But with head coach Gerard Gallant saying that he thought his team looked tired throughout the match, it is time to reunite the Kid Line for the potential elimination Game 6 of this second round of the playoffs Saturday at the Garden. 

Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko are stronger as a unit than each is individually. Kakko, in particular, has been marginalized on the fourth line the past two games. More to the point, however, is that these young’uns — 20, 22 and 21, respectively, and the only forwards younger than age 27 — have infused the team with energy with their ebullient, almost naive, approach to the tournament. 

The numbers are nothing to disparage, either, with the unit recording a positive attempts ratio, a positive shot share and a 48.75 xGF percentage (expected goal for percentage) while a minus-one at five-on-five, per NaturalStatTrick. Reuniting the trio should inject energy into a team that was lagging on Thursday. 

Of course merely rearranging the furniture is not the elixir to what ailed the Blueshirts in Game 5, when the ’Canes assumed complete command of the match midway through the second period once Ryan Strome’s “goal” was wiped off the…

Click here to read the full article at New York Post >