Rangers are back in familiar territory following two road losses.
The New York Rangers have been in a similar situation in the playoffs previously, needing to get back on track after dropping two games on the road.
After falling behind 3-1 in the series against Pittsburgh in the first round, they went home and won three straight games to advance. They were behind 2-0 in the second round before winning four of the next five to advance.
They return to New York knotted 2-2 in the Eastern Conference final with the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, aiming to reverse the tide in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night (8 p.m. EDT, ESPN). They’ll play two of the remaining three games at home, where they’ve won eight straight games.
“I believe we’re in the greatest place we’ve been in three series,” he says “Andrew Copp, a forward, remarked on Wednesday. “At home, we have two games. At home, I believe we are really excellent…. I believe we’re all confident in where we’re at right now, but there has to be a greater sense of urgency.”
The Rangers will try to resurrect their offence, which looked to be clicking in the first two games, when they outscored the Lightning 9-4. In the two games in Tampa, they were outscored 7-3.
Midway through Game 3, New York led 2-0 when Tampa Bay scored three times to win. After then, the Lightning kept the Rangers off the scoresheet until late in the third period.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said, “They haven’t made any mistakes, and we haven’t had a lot of scoring opportunities.” “They didn’t generate many scoring opportunities either, but they didn’t make the mistakes, which I believe comes with winning teams’ experience.” They don’t give up much, which is how Stanley Cups are won.”
The Rangers aren’t deterred by their playoff losses on the road, where they are 2-7. They also know what they need to work on from the previous two games: being more physical and getting more inside scoring opportunities against Andrei Vasilevskiy.
They expect a lift from playing at home, where they haven’t lost since Game 1 of the first round, when they lost in three overtimes.
“The Eastern Conference finals are a best-of-three series, and it’s something to be thrilled about as a team,” he added “Jacob Trouba, a defender, stated. “We’re in a terrific place right now, so we’ll go home and do all we can to win a game.”
The Lightning will seek to improve on their home-ice advantage after displaying symptoms of rust at the start of the series after a nine-day rest after sweeping Florida in the second round. Before losing the first two games against the Rangers, Tampa Bay had won six straight games.
The Lightning turned the series around by tightening up defensively, limiting New York’s passing lanes, and forcing the Rangers to shoot from the perimeter the majority of the time.
Vasilevskiy was there to seal the door the few times they got near.
“The last few of games, we’ve been desperate,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. “We knew it was critical for them to return in this series, and we’ve done it.” But we can’t sit on our hands and be content with that right now. We must continue to go forward…. I’m sure that desperation will set in for them immediately.”
Tampa Bay, which has won 10 straight playoff series in the past three postseasons, was also more disciplined in staying out of the penalty box by playing with a higher level of intensity. In Game 4, the Rangers, who had the league’s top power play in the playoffs, only had two chances.
“They have an even better power play,” Cooper explained, “so I spoke to Captain Obvious.” “He thinks that keeping them off the power play will assist your game, and he was absolutely correct.”
Gallant understands that merely coming home will not enough. In Game 5, the Rangers will have to pick up their game, and they may be without Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil, both of whom are injured.
Due to a lower-body injury received in the previous game, Strome was unable to play in Game 4. He skated in pregame warmups but did not participate in the game. After a hit by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, Chytil departed Tuesday night’s game just beyond the midway of the second period. With an upper-body injury, he was forced to sit out the rest of the game.
“It’s going to be a fight,” the coach said. “I mean, we’re up against a team that has a lot of experience over the previous three years, and you know they’re not going to hand it up to us.” We have to go out and grab it, and that is exactly what we must do.”