The Rangers made a habit of playing a man down in Game 4. Overtime win aside, they’d like to play with five players on the ice in Game 5.
The Blueshirts have a chance to clinch their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1994 Tuesday night on the road in Montreal. But they’ll have to be more disciplined to do so.
“We were definitely undisciplined,” Carl Hagelin said after the Game 4 win. “We took a few too many tripping and high-sticking calls. The refs are always going to call those. We have got to play smarter in [Game 5] but we did a great job on the [penalty kill].”
The Canadiens were on the power play eight times for over 14 minutes of game time. And the Rangers allowed just one score, tempered by a short-handed goal of their own by Hagelin.
The Rangers are 12-1 all time in series in which they lead 3-1. But that one loss came fairly recently — in 2009 against the Capitals. There aren’t a lot of players remaining from that team, but Henrik Lundqvist started in net and Marc Staal and Dan Girardi were also regulars.
A veteran-laden squad should also help out with any fears of the Rangers taking it easy and letting the series slip away. After all, they were just on the other side of a 1-3 deficit against the Penguins.
“I remember sitting in here down 3-1 against Pittsburgh,” Brad Richards said. “They will feel bad [Sunday] but [Tuesday] they will wake up in front of their home crowd and once that game starts, 3-1, you throw that out the window and it is back in the battle again.”
It’s no surprise the players would repeat the “one game at a time” mantra.
“We are obviously up 3-1, but we know how that can turn if we don’t do the things we need to do,” Hagelin said. “Our focus now is on the next game.”
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