Rangers can feel desperation level rising against Hurricanes

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

The New York Rangers will get back to work after an off day on Tuesday, and after an off-game on Monday. Prior to Game 5 at Madison Square Garden, the Blueshirts were clicking on all cylinders, even though they lost Game 4 to a late power-play goal in Carolina failing to sweep the Hurricanes.

During the postgame interviews, the Rangers spoke very confidently in their abilities to bounce back after suffering their first loss in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes were talking about being in a “dogfight” and clawing to stay alive.

After blowing a 1-0 lead on Monday by allowing four unanswered goals in the third period, the Rangers’ pride certainly took a hit.

“We have to get back to our game,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “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 (straight) and facing a little adversity. Let’s see what we’re made of going down to Carolina for Game 6.”

Related: Rangers star knew this wouldn’t be easy

Rangers starting to feel own sense of desperation

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

This Eastern Conference Second Round series now stands at 3-2 Rangers with the Presidents’ Trophy winners looking to avoid a Game 7. If the team was trying to manufacture a level of desperation in the previous two games, they obviously failed. However, with this reality hitting them in the face, genuine desperation has naturally been created.

“Desperation’s a funny thing. You can’t give it to somebody,” coach Peter Laviolette explained Tuesday via the NY Post. “You actually have to feel it and you have to be in it. Then you can rise to that level. And so we move into the next game and you realize now that the window’s a little bit smaller and that desperation level rises.”

One area the Rangers need to raise their level of desperation is on the power play. After scoring four goals (4-9) in the first two games of this series, they’ve gone three straight without a power-play goal (0-8).

Carolina has made a huge adjustment to their penalty kill in how they attack the Rangers’ stars on the first power play unit. In doing so, they have not allowed them any set up time which their offensively gifted players thrive on. Additionally, they’re pressuring both Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin, who usually set up the majority of plays on the man advantage. This has led to major disruptions for everyone else involved on the top unit.

New York needs to counter Carolina’s strategy by shooting more pucks from the point and letting Chris Kreider do his work down low. They can’t be stubborn looking to make their cross-ice plays to Mika Zibanejad for a one-timer. If the Rangers can get their power play going again, it could be the key to ending this series on Thursday.

“It’s a seven-game series against a team that’s three points behind us in a record-breaking season,” Vincent Trocheck told reporters after Game 5. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

The Hurricanes have been feeling desperate since Panarin scored in overtime in Game 3. On the flip side, the Rangers have been playing catch up in that department, but they can feel the heat now.

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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