June 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers heartthrob Mika Zipanegad (93) celebrated his goal against Tampa Bay Lightning with left winger Chris Kreider (20) and defender Adam Fox (23) in the third period of Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Final at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
No Quit in New York isn’t just a marketing campaign, it’s a state of mind every New York Rangers have this season.
They lost 3-1 in the first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins and won that.
They trailed 2-0, then 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes before making 7 games.
The fact that this team is 2-2 against the defending Stanley Cup champion with two out of three on home soil should boost confidence. However, outside the Rangers locker room, there is a sense that by not winning any games 3 or 4 in Tampa, this is the Lightning streak to take on now.
New York Rangers confident of heading into Game Five
“It’s not easy, but we can’t be sad,” said Artemy Panarin. “It definitely won’t help us. Try to be positive. We have to be positive. We’ve been in a worse place before, so we’re fine. Hope we do well in the park. Our fans, it’s good to see her again. Try to do something more.”
Yes, the series moves to Madison Square Garden where the Blueshirts are 8-1 in this playoff. In fact, they were unbeaten on the ice at home after dropping Game 1 to the Penguins in triple overtime.
The New York Rangers have had a positive outlook all season and nothing has changed here in June.
“They’re back from the Stanley Cup champions and we’re in the Eastern Conference final and we’re playing a really good team,” Jacob Troupa said. “I don’t think we expected to walk in here and blow doors out of this thing. This is competitive hockey. These are going to be tough games. It’s the best of the three, and it’s something you have to be excited about as a group. We’re in a good place here.”
Newcomer Andrew Cope, who was moved to the center due to Ryan Strom’s injury, is feeling confident, too.
“We’re probably in the best place we’ve been in three series with two games at home,” he said. “I think we are playing really well at home. I think we are all confident where we are now but an increasing level of desperation is needed.”
Rangers on what they need to do better
One of the things that the Rangers identified immediately after losing the fourth game was their inability to make life difficult for Andrei Vasilevsky.
“I don’t care who’s in the net, every goalkeeper in the world who struggles with a puck goes from east to west, has to fight through traffic and is then immediately released onto the net. That’s what gives us our best chance,” said Chris Kreider. And I think for a guy we could probably all say we got a pass like that night and got it, picked our head, and tried to pick a spot instead of quickly throwing it away.”
Another area that needs improvement is the front check of the blue jersey.
“I think it’s simple. Our front check and constant pressure,” Tyler Mott explained, “when we throw our bodies around the area for 20 to 30 seconds, we get pucks and bodies on the net constantly, we see a lot of speed and skill coming from our group especially in the front.” ”
Rangers will also need to find another level of competition without losing poise.
“It’s better for them to be calm, but it is better if they are ready to play more aggressively,” said Gerard Gallant. “Now he’s two out of three with the ice on the ground but we have to play better. We didn’t block enough shots or finish enough hits. Those are the good things that win hockey games. We didn’t pay the price.”
It’s time for Rangers to pay the price.
NB: Some quotes from interviews posted on the team’s YouTube channel.