Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant looks on against the Islanders at UBS...

Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant looks on against the Islanders at UBS Arena on Wednesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Gerard Gallant sounded like a man who had found what he was looking for.

Down 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second period of Saturday’s game, the Rangers’ coach — who’s been questioned so much about how often he changes his forward lines — changed the lines again, swapping Chris Kreider onto the top line and dropping Artemi Panarin to the second.

Panarin ended up scoring four goals in the Rangers’ 6-2 win, and on Monday, he was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week.

At the Rangers’ short practice at Rogers Arena on Monday, Gallant kept together the lines he finished Saturday’s game with. Kreider was on the left of Mika Zibanejad and Vladimir Tarasenko, and Panarin was on the left of Vincent Trocheck and Jimmy Vesey.

“Yeah, you’ve got to try it again,’’ Gallant said. “We’ll leave it alone for a little bit.’’


“Well, for a period — to start the game, anyway,’’ he joked.

Gallant has said more than once this season that he has a vision of how the Rangers’ lines ought to look. Clearly, he likes the Kid Line — youngsters Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko (who turned 22 on Monday). And the presumption is he’d like Zibanejad and Kreider, who’ve played together on the same line for most of the last seven seasons, to be together as well.

“Honestly, I don’t make a big deal out of the lines,’’ Gallant said. “Mika and Chris have played together a long time, but it’s about how we’re playing . . . If we’re playing well and we’re on a good roll, [the lines are working]. If we’re flat and we’re not playing well, you’re going to make line changes. Any coach is going to do that.’’

Panarin’s big week

Panarin had four goals and an assist Saturday, and his four goals and five assists in four games during the week earned him First Star honors over San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson (two goals, five assists in three games) and Arizona forward Clayton Keller (3-4-7 in three games).

“He definitely deserved it,’’ Gallant said. “Four goals and one assist in that game, and it was a big game. I mean, it was a 2-1 hockey game and then he sort of took over. So it was great to see, and it was well deserved, for sure.’’

Kravtsov’s status?

The agent for Vitali Kravtsov, Dan Milstein, offered a “no comment’’ Monday when asked to confirm whether Kravtsov has formally asked to be traded. Kravtsov, who was scratched Saturday after finally getting back into the lineup for the first time in five games Friday, declined to talk to reporters.

“It’s not easy,’’ Gallant said when asked if he’s spoken to Kravtsov. “I’ve mentioned it before to him and to you [media] that he’s a top-nine player. And right now, he’s not in our top nine [forwards]. And he’s not going to be a fourth-line player. He doesn’t play in that role for our team.

“And we like him,’’ Gallant insisted. “I like him. He’s a good kid. He’s just got to continue to work hard, and when the chance is available, take advantage of it. You don’t give anything to anybody. You’ve got to make them earn it. I’m happy with the way our guys played the other night.’’

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