Game 5 loss looked like ‘Gallant game,’ veteran Rangers reporter says on podcast

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Carpiniello had a deja vu flashback watching Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

The long-time Rangers beat reporter said the Blueshirts’ dismal 4-1 loss reminded him of previous playoff games with former coach Gerard Gallant in one specific area.

“I’m a little surprised actually that under Peter Laviolette, they did not adjust at any point,” Carpiniello said on the Rink Rap podcast presented by Forever Blueshirts.

“It actually looked more like a Gallant game. There was a lack of reaction and a lack of adjustment. That surprised me.”

Laviolette, the current Rangers coach, has the reputation of being an excellent in-game tactician, one of the reasons why he replaced Gallant, who came under fire for not making adjustments during last season’s first-round series loss to the New Jersey Devils.

Then again, perhaps it was just one of those terrible nights when nothing was going to work for the Blueshirts.

“Game 5 was just, it reminded me of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1994, where they never had their game, never reached their level at any point in the game,” said Carpiniello, who covered that championship run as part of his 40+ years on the Rangers beat.

“Their special teams weren’t particularly good. Their 5-on-5 play was awful. And their defensive zone coverage off the rush was terrible. … You can make a laundry list of things you have to do to win a playoff game, and the Rangers didn’t do many of them at all.”

There is a silver lining, however, according to Carpiniello.

“I do believe Game 6 will be completely different.”

WATCH: Complete interview with Rick Carpiniello discussing Rangers-Hurricanes series

Rick Carpiniello believes Rangers will still win playoff series against Hurricanes

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Rangers have drawn quite a few comparisons to the 1994 Stanley Cup champions. Each won the Presidents’ Trophy and each opened the postseason with seven straight victories.

And now, Rangers captain Jacob Trouba has channeled his inner Mark Messier with a guarantee (of sorts) that the Rangers will win Game 6 in Carolina.

Carpiniello is having none of that talk, however.

“First things first, I don’t think these teams should be compared because that team (the 1994 Rangers) was clearly the best team in the League that year … So, I don’t think this team is that team. That team was deeper and … far superior,” Carpiniello explained. “Second, the leadership group on that team was unmatched, maybe ever, arguably with the great Islanders teams and the Canadiens in terms of leadership.”

But that doesn’t mean “Carpy” sees a complete collapse by the Blueshirts here in the second round after they raced to a 3-0 lead before losing the past two games. However, that comes with an important caveat.

“For sure, I don’t see [Igor] Shesterkin losing four in a row to Freddie Andersen or [Pyotr] Kochetkov or whoever they have in goal. … But if it gets to [Game] seven, all bets are off.”

Rick Carpiniello’s latest book, The Franchise: New York Rangers, is available for purchase here.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

Mentioned in this article:

More About: