NEW YORK – If the Carolina Hurricanes were looking to send a message after their Game 3 loss, New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant cautioned that they might not like the response.
“I was not happy with the bulls — at the end of the game that they initiated,” Gallant said after the Rangers’ 3-1 win on Sunday that cut Carolina’s lead to 2-1 in their second-round series. “We did not do that when the games were close. They put their guys out. That’s fine. If they want to play like that, we’ve got the guys that can match them.”
As the buzzer sounded to end Game 3, Carolina forward Max Domi gift Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren a cross-check in New York’s zone. Lindgren responded with a slash on Domi. That brought all the players on the ice together, with Lindgren wrestling Domi to the ice in a headlock.
Meanwhile, at the benches, Gallant could be seen angrily yelling at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo as the players left the ice. DeAngelo, whose contract was bought out by the Rangers last summer after a series of behavioral issues, was booed by Madison Square Garden fans and targeted with derogatory chants throughout the game.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said he was not aware that Gallant was jawing at one of his players. As for the incident with Domi after the buzzer, he said, “I did not really see what happened so I can not comment on it.”
Gallant saw it clearly from the Rangers’ bench and bemoaned what he thought was an attempt at message-sending by the Hurricanes ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 in New York.
“The game is over. They’re not sending any message. We’ve got the guy that can handle all their guys if we want to. We did not do it like that,” Gallant said in a not-very-veiled reference to New York enforcer Ryan Reaveswho played 8:24 in Game 3. Reaves – one of the Rangers’ key offseason additions after missing the postseason last year – also played for Gallant with the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Domi took a cheap shot at our defenseman. You’ve got a long memory in this to think about things. It might be on the other foot someday,” Gallant said.
The Rangers won Game 3 with timely defense and outstanding goaltending from Igor Shesterkindespite his flubbing a stoppable shot from Nino Niederreiter for the lone Hurricanes goal. Shesterkin stopped 43 shots in the win and helped the Rangers’ penalty kill to thwart three Carolina power plays. The Rangers were credited with 17 blocked shots in the game.
New York, meanwhile converted for its first power-play goal in the series from center Mika Zibanejadgiving the Rangers the all-important lead at home.
The loss continued a trend in the postseason for Carolina, which has six wins in Raleigh but has yet to win a game on the road in two rounds, having lost all three games in Boston in its previous series.
“It’s tough to win on the road in this league. They played hard on the road today,” Gallant said. “Hopefully this series goes like (the Boston one), and then in Game 7 we’ll find a way to win that big game in their building.”