Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant gives instructions during the first...

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant gives instructions during the first period of an NHL game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on March 29. Credit: AP/Gene J. Puskar

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Rangers coach Gerard Gallant felt like he needed to shake things up for Game 3 of his team’s second-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes after the Blueshirts had played well but lost Games 1 and 2 in Raleigh, N.C. So he changed up his forward lines, breaking up the Kid Line of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, and placing each youngster on a different line to see if he could create some kind of spark.

On Monday, though, Gallant indicated he didn’t plan on starting Game 4 Tuesday with the same lines he used to start Game 3.

“I don't think so,’’ he said after the Rangers’ brief, optional skate at the team practice facility. “I think there'll be some changes. But I'm not 100% sure. We'll look at things today and make sure everybody's healthy, and I'll let them know tonight.’’

Gallant seemed to get some mileage out of the new-look top line, with Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider and Chytil – playing right wing, rather than center. That trio created a few scoring chances, and had a combined 11 shots on goal at 5-on-5 play in the first two periods. Zibanejad and Kreider both scored goals, though Zibanejad’s came on a power play.

“Fil played a few games in the season at right wing, he did a good job,’’ Gallant said. “So you move guys in and out. And as coaches, you always think, 'Should I really do this, move him out of center to put him on right wing now?' But I thought he did a good job. He played well up there, created some chances. He almost scored a goal there in the second period with a great play… I just thought (Sunday) night we'd try something.’’

Lafrenière, normally a left wing, played right wing with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome, and Kakko played right wing with Andrew Copp in the middle and Frank Vatrano on the left.

Late in the second period, Gallant reverted to the lines that started the series, reuniting the Kid Line, putting Vatrano back with Zibanejad and Kreider, and Copp back with Strome and Panarin. That made things easier from a defensive perspective, he explained, as the team tried to protect a 2-1 lead.

Changing his line combinations, though, is something Gallant said he will do when he thinks the team needs a some kind of spark.

“If things aren't going great for a couple of games, I don't mind switching guys up,’’ he said. “I'd love to keep rolling the lines over when things are going good, but when we have some struggles, you put guys in different situations, see how they respond.’’

Blue lines

The NHL has set the time for Game 5 of the series Thursday to 7 p.m. … Panarin and Vatrano were the only players among the top nine forwards who took part in the optional practice.

Gallant was asked why Panarin felt the need to skate.

“No idea,’’ the coach said. “It's his option.’’

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