Tampa – The Forgotten Four Days at the New York Rangers in Tampa Bay would be a distant memory if they once again took an interest in chores at home.
Rangers dropped Games 3 and 4 to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena and lost their lead in the Eastern Conference Final, but won eight games in a row at Madison Square Garden, with Game 5 taking place on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, CBC, SN , TVAS).
The best 7-match streak is tied 2-2 and the Rangers are satisfied with that because they have the advantage of home ice.
“I think it will make us hungrier and angrier,” the Rangers striker Artemi Banarin He said after the 4-1 loss Tuesday. “It’s good sometimes. That’s how we react. I don’t think we’ve lost our confidence, we’ll just be hungrier in the next game.”
The Rangers absorbed some pretty big physical hits in games 3 and 4, and lost the position Ryan Strom For lower body injury in match 3 and middle Philip Shettle For an upper body injury in game 4.
Chytil missed the last 23 minutes of Game 4 and Strome did not play after skating in the warm-up. Every decision has to do with match time 5, said coach Gerard Gallant.
But hope is far from lost.
Rangers have not lost a home game since the first game of the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins in triple overtime.
They are 8-0 with a plus 19 goal difference (35-16) in their home games since then, averaging 4.38 goals per game and 2.00 goals against.
They are also 3-0 in the home games after losing the road.
“I think we’re confident,” Defensman Jacob Troup He said. “We expected to get their best. We’re one of three teams left here so it’s competitive hockey. Yeah, you expect their best, you want their best and we want to show that we can beat the best. We’re ahead—and the next team, we’ve We arrived and we want to play these matches.”
[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Lightning series coverage]
The Rangers felt the same way after losing Match 3 and 4 on the road to the Penguins in the first round.
They won Game 5 after losing 7-2 in Game 4 which put them 3-1 inferior in the series. They also won matches 6 and 7.
When Panarin said after the game on Tuesday that Rangers were fine because they were in the worst positions, the first round was what he was talking about.
“Maybe we’re in the best place we’ve been in three series, we have two games at home,” the Rangers striker Andrew Cope He said. “I think we’re all confident in where we are now, but there must definitely be an increased level of desperation.”
Rangers were feeling that desperation after losing consecutive road matches against the Carolina Hurricanes to start the second round. They came home and won games 3 and 4. They also won Game 6 in the park against Carolina after losing on the road in Game 5.
In fact, Rangers’ performance in Game 4 Against Lightning had many of the same traits as Game 5 Against Hurricanes.
Gallant said his team looked “tired” in Game Five against the Hurricanes, losing 3-1 when the team edged 34-17. He said they were not fast or strong enough, and that they arrived and had no response when the hurricane sergeant swallowed them.
The same things happened here on Thursday even though the Rangers outperformed Lightning 35-31. Gallant didn’t use the word tired, but he was clearly not happy with the effort, saying the Lightning “paid a price to win,” an indictment against the Rangers.
Not enough, not enough, Gallant said. “We didn’t get enough shots. We didn’t finish enough shots. You know, the good stuff that makes you win games. That’s what we have to do better.”
Lightning also did not give Rangers any free gifts in either of the two games at Amalie Arena.
“They didn’t make any mistakes,” Gallant said. “We didn’t get a lot of chances to score, but they didn’t open the game. They didn’t create a lot of scoring chances either, but they didn’t make mistakes and I think that’s from the experience of the winning teams.
“They play hockey well and are strong, and that’s what we have to do.”
The Rangers did this throughout qualifying on the ice at home, being relentless, sharper, and faster through the neutral zone. In Matches 1 and 2, they also had a Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevsky It moves side by side, opening holes that resulted in nine goals being scored against it.
Do it all again on Thursday, and the Rangers will give themselves the best chance of winning once within the Stanley Cup Final.
“It’s an intense game of hockey and you have to prepare to play it,” Gallant said. “It doesn’t seem to bother us when we play at home. The last two games, were there problems? Yes. But we have to improve. We will.”
NHL.com writer Tom Gulitti contributed to this story