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Rangers part ways with head coach Gerard Gallant after first-round playoff exit

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant, center top, looks on during the first period of Game 7 against the New Jersey Devils in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series Monday, May 1, 2023, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Gerard Gallant is done in New York after two seasons. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The New York Rangers are making a change after a brutal first-round exit of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team announced Saturday it had mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Gerard Gallant.

Two weeks ago, Gallant and the Rangers appeared on track to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals for a second straight year when they took a 2-0 lead over the New Jersey Devils. The Devils responded with three straight wins, then pulled out the series victory with a dominant 4-0 win in Game 7.

Rangers general manager Chris Drury applauded Gerard's work in a statement, but said his departure would be beneficial for both sides:

"I want to first thank Gerard for his work and commitment to the Rangers during his time as head coach," said Drury. "I have a ton of respect for Gerard as both a coach and person and truly appreciate everything he did for us on and off the ice these last two seasons. After my evaluation of the season and discussions with Gerard, we mutually came to the conclusion that a change would be beneficial for both parties. I wish he and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin right away."

Gallant finishes his Rangers career after two seasons with a combined 99-46-19 record. The 59-year-old previously held the same position with the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers and Columbus Blue Jackets.

While the Rangers painted the decision as mutual, Gallant was firm about wanting to stick around as recently as Wednesday and stood by his record against what he called "one bad week."

That week came up against increased expectations, though, after the Rangers reached the conference finals last season and entered this year's playoffs with Patrick Kane in tow after a blockbuster trade at the deadline.