TAMPA, Fla. — Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said forward Ryan Strome, a last-minute scratch from the lineup Tuesday in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, was “close’’ to playing, before the team decided against it.
“Yeah, it was real close,’’ Gallant said Wednesday before the flight home to New York. “You know, we wanted to make sure we're doing the right thing.’’
After Game 4, Gallant described Strome’s status as day-to-day, and he was asked Wednesday if he expects Strome, who appeared to suffer a right knee injury in Game 3, to play in Game 5 on Thursday.
“I expected him last night,’’ he said. “I expected him to play, and those are game-time decisions, and you’ve got to make the right ones, and they're tough calls for everybody. But I felt we made the right one last night.’’
Kevin Rooney took Strome’s place in the lineup in Game 4.
Gallant said both Strome and center Filip Chytil, who left Game 4 late in the second period with an upper-body injury, are considered game-time decisions for Thursday.
Change is no change for Motte
Tyler Motte, who played left wing on the fourth line centered by Rooney in Game 4, said there wasn’t much difference having Rooney as his centerman, as opposed to Barclay Goodrow, who moved up to the second line.
“I don't think there's a whole lot of difference,’’ Motte said. “Both [Goodrow and Rooney] are lefties, good in the [faceoff] circle, want to be in on forechecks, good defensively. I don't think there's a whole lot of change. Not just with our group, but throughout our whole lineup.
“We’ve got guys that can play a lot of different roles,’’ he said. “Versatility is definitely a luxury a little bit, and our depth guys are much the same [as the regulars].’’