Marc Staal has played 106 career playoff games.
None of them offered a challenge quite like the one the Rangers will face Tuesday night — facing elimination in the second half of a back-to-back, all while being confined to a bubble environment.
“Uncharted territory for sure,” Staal said Monday after the Rangers fell into a 2-0 hole against the Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup qualifiers. “We’ve been down in series before 3-1 and you’re either going to a city or you’re staying at home and hanging out with your family or something and you take a deep breath and reset. We don’t have time for that now. We’re going back to the hotel, get some food in us and try to focus on [Tuesday] night and what we need to do better. Gotta find that energy from this point to puck-drop tomorrow.
“I’ve liked our resiliency all year long. I’ve liked our team. I know we’re going to come out strong. We’re looking forward to that now.”
In 56 best-of-five series that have started 2-0 in NHL history, the team that won the first two games has gone on to win 55 of those series.
While the odds are now stacked against the Rangers, Chris Kreider said not getting away from Monday’s 4-1 loss was not necessarily a bad thing.
“A lot of times, being around the group, you don’t want to get your mind off it,” Kreider said. “A lot of times you want to talk with the guys. Communication is not a bad thing right now. Go back to the hotel, rest up, get food in us. We’ll talk about the game and we’ll come out and be better.”
David Quinn was unsure of Igor Shesterkin’s availability for Tuesday’s Game 3 after the rookie watched Game 2 from the stands once again while being deemed unfit to play. In his absence, Henrik Lundqvist has allowed seven goals on 71 shots through two games.
“I thought Hank was solid,” Quinn said. “Listen, we got one goal. We’re not going to win scoring one goal. Certainly left him out to dry there the last two for sure.
“We haven’t decided internally what we’re going to do [Tuesday].”
Either way, the Rangers should be getting at least one reinforcement. Brendan Lemieux has now served his two-game suspension for an illegal elbow to the head from March 11 and is eligible to return to the lineup.
Quinn said he would look at options for potential lineup changes ahead of Game 3.
Jesper Fast, day-to-day after getting crushed by Brady Skjei in Game 1, missed Game 2 and was replaced by Steven Fogarty. Fogarty played on the fourth line while Kaapo Kakko got bumped up to the second line in Fast’s normal spot.
Source: New York Post
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