According to head coach Gerard Gallant, the New York Rangers' loss in the Eastern Conference Finals was partly down to accumulated fatigue.
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This is what he said on Saturday, during press conferences following the elimination of his team in six games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Rangers won their first two series in seven games and played a total of 20 games in 40 days.
"There's no doubt it showed," Gallant said. We didn't get any real breaks. I would have loved to win it tonight [Saturday] and have two days off. It would have been the first time. It would have been great, but that's the way it is."
According to the schedule established by the National League, the Rangers and the Lightning would have effectively obtained an additional day of rest before playing a seventh game. The “Bolts”, however, finished the job by winning a fourth consecutive game, after seeing the “Blueshirts” know the happiness of victory in the first two duels of the final series in the East.
Gallant also spoke about how difficult it was to play against two-time defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay.
"They're a big defensive team," said the pilot. They made life hard for us. They were able to kick us out of the enclave and they did a great job. Our goal was to try and fight to get there and that wore us out. There's no doubt in my mind."
Defender Jacob Trouba agreed with his head coach.
"Obviously the guys were tired," he said. That's a lot of hockey in a short time. It's tough and it was physically demanding hockey. Several of our guys gave courageous efforts by playing injured and giving everything they had.
Forward Mika Zibanejad, however, disagreed with his teammate and Gallant.
“There was no fatigue, said the Swede. These are the kind of matches we want to play. I feel like we rested enough between games. It had nothing to do with fatigue.
Zibanejad, like many of the big guns of the Rangers, still showed signs of fatigue in recent clashes against the “Bolts”. He has been cleared of the score sheet for the last three duels, as has been the case with defender Adam Fox and forward Filip Chytil. The New York club's top scorer in 2021-22, Chris Kreider, has also been unable to contribute offensively in the last two games against the Lightning.