GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Gerard Gallant was calm on Monday, less than 24 hours after the New York Rangers coach was clearly irritated with the little bit of nastiness that happened after the final buzzer of Game 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It’s in the past, you get ready for the next game,” Gallant said. “The games are too important now. It’s over. It was a minor thing. In the heat of battle, it’s an issue, but when it’s over it’s over.”
Gallant and the Rangers were thinking about Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS) and the need for another victory. They won 3-1 on Sunday but are still down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series.
However, Gallant couldn’t get away without rehashing what happened at the end of Game 3 and the impact it could have on Game 4. As the buzzer sounded at the end of the third period, Carolina forward Max Domi gave a slash and slight cross check to New York defenseman Ryan Lindgren, who slashed him back, causing a skirmish.
All the while, Gallant was yelling at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo, who played for the Rangers for four seasons before having his contract bought out on July 24, 2021. Gallant appeared to tell DeAngelo to stop yapping at the Rangers bench and grow up.
“No, I wasn’t happy with the [stuff] at the end of the game that they initiated,” Gallant said following Game 3. “We didn’t do that when the games were close. They want to play like that, we got the guys that can match that.”
He didn’t stop there.
“You’ve got a long memory in this,” Gallant said. “You think about things that might be on the other foot someday.”
Although Monday was about moving on, that doesn’t mean forgetting.
“In certain series there is a lot of that and in certain series there is none of it, and for me with my team, I don’t think it hurts us one bit,” Gallant said. “I think it helps us. It’s good when guys get a little [angry] once in a while. We play better. It gets us more focused.”
Ryan Reaves agreed.
“Yeah, I think if you looked at some games that’s happened throughout the year more guys get engaged,” the forward said. “Some of those top guys, I think they start playing a little more physical and getting into battles a little more. I think our team thrives on it. Some teams shy away, I think we do well with it.”
Reaves is obviously a big part of it. He’s known as the Rangers’ most intimidating player.
In fact, in voicing his displeasure with what happened at the end of Game 3, Gallant also said, “We’ve got the guy that can handle all their guys if we want to.”
He obviously was referring to Reaves though he never said his name.
“Big part of it,” Gallant said of Reaves. “It’s not about him going out there and fighting. What did he fight, twice this year? And the other guys challenged him. He’s just an insurance blanket for you there. Our guys know what we’ve got there. He’s a big part of our group.”
Reaves fought three times this season, but that’s not what the Rangers or Hurricanes are looking for in Game 4. They’re looking for physicality, finishing hits in a legal way to make it difficult on the opponent.
Reaves’ 28 hits are tied with Kevin Rooney for third on the Rangers despite being last in ice time per game (8:59) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He led New York in the regular season with 279 hits while playing 10:39 per game, last among New York skaters who played at least 60 games.
“I’m going to go do my thing,” Reaves said. “I’m going to run some people, get in their face and try to get the same result, another win.”
When told that Reaves said he may run some people, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour responded, “I don’t know what he’s waiting for.”
Brind’Amour, though, said he expects Reaves to play his role in Game 4.
“You have to do what you have to do this time of year,” he said. “Otherwise, what good are you?”
And if the nastiness from the end of Game 3 spills into Game 4, no one will complain about it.
“I hope so,” Reaves said matter-of-factly.
Said Hurricanes forward Seth Jarvis, “It’ll be interesting next game.”
The key will be staying on the right side of the line if and when things do get nasty.
The Rangers’ dangerous power play got them a goal in Game 3. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are 0-for-7 in the series, but New York doesn’t want to give their power play any unnecessary chances to find a groove.
“You don’t do something stupid,” Gallant said. “If there’s opportunities make sure you make people pay a price, but you worry about winning the game and getting the series at 2-2, that’s the big thing.”
NHL.com staff writer Jon Lane contributed to this report