Rangers disappoint in awful Game 5 loss to Hurricanes

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

The New York Rangers posted a dud in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

It’s not like they weren’t warned beforehand by Hurricanes forward Evgeny Kuznetsov, who scored the eventual game-winning goal, that they would be in for a ‘dog fight.’ Because that’s what this series has become after winning the first three games and now losing the subsequent two.

Did they just brush off Kuznetsov’s words because they were up 3-1 in the series with a chance to close things out at Madison Square Garden? If so, they paid the price and were overwhelmed in the third period. Not only did they relinquish their 1-0 lead by giving up four unanswered to fall 4-1, they did it with a putrid effort as Carolina beat them to loose pucks all night.

“Tonight wasn’t a reflection of who we were for a majority of the year,” a visibly frustrated Peter Laviolette explained. “Whenever you don’t play up to your capabilities you get concerned. But I also know this group has had games like that and they’ve responded. There’s accountability from them and from us and what we bring. There’s things we need to do better and we’ll do that.”

New York will now have two days off to lick their wounds and prepare to win Game 6 in Carolina on Thursday night.

“We need to play better than we did today,” the Rangers coach continued. “There’s no sense worrying about the game that just happened. We have to focus on the next game.”

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Rangers disappoint in Game 5

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

Looking back at the game, the Rangers opportunity to show they have that killer instinct necessary to win the Stanley Cup was in the first period. It was likely the most even of all three periods with shots at 9 each, but the Rangers’ power play let them down again by not even generating any kind of momentum when Kuznetsov was sent off for slashing with 1:55 remaining.

Things looked to be turning around when once again the Blueshirts were able to score a shorthanded goal. In the second period, Jacob Trouba blocked a shot and turned the play up ice for a 2-on-1 rush. The captain opted to blast one under the arm of Frederik Andersen, and the Rangers should’ve been off to the races.

Undeterred, the Hurricanes kept coming and the Rangers seemed content to just keep the pressure to the outside. The end result was Carolina outshooting New York by a 19-12 margin over the final two periods and finally catching a number of Rangers flatfooted or out of position to roll to victory.

“We were a little back on our heels,” Trouba said. “In that situation, you want to make more plays and get back on our toes. We have to get back to our game. We let it come to us a little bit instead of taking the game to them. It’s something to learn on.

“We didn’t think this was going to be a cakewalk. We’ve lost two and facing a little adversity. Let’s see what we’re made of going down to Carolina for Game 6.”

After losing two straight and facing the possibility of blowing a 3-0 series lead, this indeed isn’t a cakewalk. No, it’s a dog fight.

It’s time for the Rangers to show they have that kind of fight in them.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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