Even with the youth and inexperience, the New York Rangers finally have a third line that’s effective and can make a difference. Throughout the last few years there have been many Rangers fans who have pined for the Blueshirts to have an effective bottom six on the ice. Now, they finally have one.
While the goal and point production might not be where some thought or hoped it would be this season, the new “kid line” or as I’ve been calling it “the momentum line” has been a game changer for Gallant and company.
It’s impossible to describe just how important it is for a coach to have a line that he can trust in nearly any situation. A perfect example of this is where we’ve seen Gallant deploy the trio of Lafreniere-Chytil-Gauthier on the next shift after giving up a goal. That sends a strong message of trust from the head coach. After you’ve given up a goal to tie the game or fall behind, it’s an incredibly strong signal from the head coach to tap one of your bottom six lines to be the next man up and respond. It also shows faith from Gallant that he can trust that the line will go out and not surrender another goal. For a line full of kids, that is one heck of a way to strengthen the development of their game.
In any game the momentum is up for grabs after a big goal is scored. Seeing Gallant trust his youth on such an important moment instead of turning to the Panarin or Zibanejad lines can do wonders for confidence of young players. Especially after the previous two regimes seemingly never trusted the youth in any kind of big spot.
The momentum line has not only been good offensively generating chances, but they’ve also been solid defensively and limiting chances. Any time there has been a chance against them defensively they’ve been able to quickly transition and move the puck out of their zone and keep the odds in the Rangers favor.
The positives of having such an effective third line is that it allows Gallant to roll his lineup and not just throw heavy minutes on his top two lines which will help keep them fresh for the postseason. Add that to having one of the best fourth lines that the Rangers have seen in a long time only provides a greater level of strength in that department.
One area of concern for this talented line is that they’re not scoring on the chances that they’ve been creating, but you have to believe that if they’re able to keep generating then the points will begin to flow. Either way, we have seen a tremendous growth especially in Julien Gauthier which has to have you optimistic about the future of the Rangers young players.