Rangers know ‘it’s going to take all of us’ in Game 6 vs. Hurricanes

Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

History tells the New York Rangers a lot of things ahead of their crucial Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday down in Raleigh.

On the positive side, only four teams in NHL history have ever lost in a reverse sweep, losing a best-of-7 series after winning the first three games, most recently the San Jose Sharks in 2014 to Jonathan Quick and the eventual Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings. Maybe more pertinent to Game 6 on Thursday, only five other NHL teams have even tied a best-of-7 series after losing the first three games, each ultimately losing in Game 7. Simply, winning four in a row is so difficult in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and near impossible after trailing 3-0.

Of more recent vintage, these Rangers had one three-game losing streak all season (Jan. 8-13). Never did they lose four in a row.

On the flip side, the Hurricanes are 16-5-0 in the postseason at PNC Arena since 2022, including 4-1 in these playoffs. They also had eight winning streaks of three games or more this season, including a 3-0 start against the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs.

One other interesting historical nugget, the Rangers eliminated the Hurricanes with a Game 7 win in Raleigh two years ago. So, the large part of this Rangers roster knows how to put away the Hurricanes in their home building in a must-win game.

Ultimately, though, history is, well, history. And the Rangers need to write their own chapter in 2024, needing to stare down some adversity after losing two straight heading into Game 6, where they have a third consecutive opportunity to finish off the Hurricanes.

“There are so many guys here that have stepped up at different points, now it’s time for everyone to be pulling on the same rope,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said Wednesday. “It’s going to take all of us.”

Related: Chris Kreider absence, shuffled D pairs at Rangers practice before Game 6

Rangers trust each other after overcoming adversity all season

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

The Rangers built quite a bit of equity with each other and their coach Peter Laviolette during the 2023-24 regular season. Beyond setting franchise records for wins (55) and points (114) and winning their fourth Presidents’ Trophy, the Rangers had 28 comeback wins this season (and another three in the playoffs). They won 10 games when trailing after two periods and were 11-2-1 when tied after two.

Typically, the Rangers don’t blink, don’t panic. That ugly Game 5 collapse at home against the Hurricanes would appear to be the anomaly not the norm this season. That goes a long way heading into this next game Thursday.

“As players, as people, as leaders, we’ve built something here,” Trouba said. “The chemistry, and belief we have in each other. All that we’ve done in the past, this is why we did it. For this situation, and we’ve got to bring it.”

So, if the Rangers are leaning on any history, it’s the most recent history of what all they accomplished together this season, and, perhaps more importantly, how they achieved that success.

That’s not a bad place for the Rangers to be, and they’re still up 3-2 with a chance to eliminate one of the best teams in the League.

Of course, it all comes down to what happens on the ice. And it can’t be discounted how good and relentless these Hurricanes are, either.

The first four games in this series were decided by one goal. That’s how evenly-matched the Rangers and Hurricanes are. Expect more of the same in Raleigh on Thursday night.

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

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