The New York Rangers will have another chance to make a move in the Metropolitan Division, and they’ll have to make it count this time.
The Rangers squandered a pair of third-period leads against the Carolina Hurricanes in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday.
New York will have a shot at revenge on Thursday when they visit the Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C.
“It wasn’t near good enough,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said of his team’s performance against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. “They were a much better team. The game shouldn’t have been that close. We didn’t play near well enough to beat that team.”
Carolina (46-15-8, 100 points) scored all three of its goals in the final 11 minutes in Tuesday’s game.
“We had a game plan and the guys knew what we needed to do,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “They’ve got a high-offense team, so we were trying to limit their chances.”
The Hurricanes have reached the 100-point mark in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. This season marks just the third time Carolina has reached the points plateau.
Topping the Rangers (41-20-10, 92 points) in the manner that they did is bound to bolster the Hurricanes. Carolina has 10 third-period comebacks that have resulted in victories.
“It just gives us more confidence,” defenseman Jalen Chatfield said. “We know what we’ve got in this locker room and we know how we want to play every night. To be able to match up against these guys, another great team, we lost the first two to them, so to be able to get this one feels nice. We just have to keep going from there.”
Carolina ended up going 2-1-0 in a stretch of three straight road games, though it also needed third-period heroics Saturday to reach overtime before winning at Philadelphia.
So that might have helped with the mindset — and to some degree the patience needed — in New York.
“Even though it wasn’t looking good for most of the game, we were down, then we tied it up and they got another right away, I just loved the way we (responded) next shift,” Brind’Amour said. “It was great to tie it up and then get the late one. We got what we deserved, for sure.”
The Rangers eliminated Carolina in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference second round and then won the first two meetings between the teams this season.
Gallant said he doesn’t want to dwell on past results, particularly after Tuesday’s disappointment.
“When we did have some breakouts, it just seemed like they were right on us,” he said. “We didn’t skate enough. We didn’t move the puck enough. They were the quick, quick team and we were slow. They play the same game every night. We know that.”
The Rangers are encouraged with having defenseman Ryan Lindgren back on the ice. He had an assist and a plus-1 rating on Tuesday in his first contest since an 11-game absence with an upper-body injury.
“A little rust, for sure,” Gallant said of Lindgren. “But not bad. He was better than some of them.”
On Thursday, Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal will move alone into second place on Carolina’s all-time list for games played with 730. Only his brother, Eric Staal, has played more games (909) for the Hurricanes since the franchise relocated from Connecticut to North Carolina starting in the 1997-98 season.
–Field Level Media