NEW YORK — If the Carolina Hurricanes were looking to send a message after their Game 3 loss, New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant warned they might not like the answer.
“I wasn’t happy with the Bulls — at the end of the game they started,” Gallant said after Rangers’ 3-1 win on Sunday cut Carolina’s lead to 2-1 in their second-round series. “We didn’t do that when the games were tight. They took their guys out. That’s good. If they want to play like that, we have the guys who can match them.”
As the bells rang to end Game 3, Carolina forward Max Domi gave Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren a counter check in the New York zone. Lindgren responded with a slash on Domi. This brought everyone on the ice together, with Lindgren battling Domi on the ice in a headlock.
Meanwhile, on the benches, Gallant could be seen yelling angrily at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo as the players walked off the ice. DeAngelo, whose contract was bought out by Rangers last summer after a series of behavioral issues, was booed by fans at Madison Square Garden and targeted with derogatory chants throughout the game.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said he was unaware Gallant was going after any of his players. As for the incident with Domi after the buzzer, he said, “I didn’t actually see what happened so I can’t comment on that.”
Gallant saw it clearly from the Rangers bench and lamented what he thought was an attempt by the Hurricanes to send a message ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 in New York.
“The game is over. They’re not sending any messages. We’ve got the guy who can handle all of their guys if we want to. We didn’t do it like that,” Gallant said in a not very veiled message. a reference to New York enforcer Ryan Reaves, who played 8:24 into Game 3. Reaves – one of Rangers’ key offseason additions after missing the playoffs last year – also played for Gallant with the Vegas Golden Knights.
“Domi took a cheap shot at our defender. You have a long memory to think. Maybe it will be on the other foot one day,” Gallant said.
Rangers won Game 3 with timely defense and outstanding goalkeeping from Igor Shesterkin, despite missing a saveable shot from Nino Niederreiter for the Hurricanes’ only goal. Shesterkin stopped 43 shots in the win and helped Rangers neutralize three Carolina power plays. Rangers were credited with 17 blocked shots in the game.
New York, meanwhile, converted for center Mika Zibanejad’s first power-play goal of the series, giving the Rangers the biggest lead at home.
The loss continued a playoff trend for Carolina, which has six wins in Raleigh but is yet to win a road game in two rounds, having lost all three games to Boston in its previous series.
“It’s hard to win on the road in this league. They played hard on the road today,” said Gallant. “Hopefully this series goes like (Boston’s) and then in Game 7 we find a way to win this big game in their building.”