The New York Rangers return home knowing they need a home win to continue their postseason. The Carolina Hurricanes are still looking for their first road win in these playoffs.
After Carolina won 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead, the Rangers will be looking to force a decisive game in the second-round series when they play Saturday night ( 8 p.m. EDT) will host the Storm in Game 6. ESPN).
“We lost a game and we didn’t play as well as we could have, so I was disappointed,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said on Friday. “That’s the playoffs, that’s how it goes. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night and that’s what we’re looking forward to.
“Just worry about tomorrow and get to work.”
Winning games for these Rangers are nothing new. They went 3–1 against Pittsburgh in the first round, then won three straight – becoming the first team in NHL history to rally from losses in three consecutive elimination games – to advance.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” said New York forward Ryan Strom. “I love our chances on home ice. … We are familiar with the situation. Got a chance to make it (Game) 7 at home and that’s all we’re worried about now.
The Rangers were also left behind in the series after losing the first two games at Carolina. They returned home and won the series through games 3 and 4. Now they will have to win at home to tie the series once again.
“It’s super confident in that dressing room all the time and I think the first series helped a little bit,” said Strom. “And to win games 3 and 4 (in this series), they are very important games and we have done a great job. We can draw from those experiences.”
And what those experiences have taught the Rangers is that the only focus is on the task at hand, and not worry about chains or losses.
“Well, your back is against the wall,” said Gallant. “You go out and you play your game. You know if you lose this game there is no tomorrow. We did very well in the last series, hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.” . I don’t think we change anything based on strategy. We just go out there and play our game.”
Forward Chris Kreider agreed, saying: “We have to win a game. … Win the first period and go from there.”
The Hurricanes are also trying to win a game – on the road, for the first time in post season. After their latest win, they improved to 7-0 at home but are 0-5 on the road.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour isn’t concerned with the team’s lack of road wins, although he admits that people talk about it a lot.
“It’s a non-issue,” he said. “It’s all I hear endlessly. We haven’t played poorly on the road. We’ve had a good game. There are a few things that have gone squirrels. … We’re playing good teams. That’s how it goes.”
The Hurricanes took the series lead in Game 5 with a strong defensive effort, limiting Rangers to 17 shots on target – including five in each of the first two periods.
“Does it transfer, obviously we expect so,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t usually take too much stock of one game into the next, good or bad. It’s always about the next game and it takes a life of its own but certainly not the way we want to do it.”
If the Hurricanes maintain their trend later this season, the deciding Game 7 will take place on Monday night at home. But it’s not something they want to think about right now.
“We’re going to give it our best,” Brind’Amour said. “We are going to try to win (Saturday). We do it every night. Nothing really changes. Obviously, we don’t want to come back (home) and play another game. We’re going to do everything we can to win tomorrow night.”
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