The New York Rangers have been in a similar position before in this postseason – looking to reverse the momentum back home after dropping two games on the road.
In the first round against Pittsburgh, they returned home after falling into a 3-1 series hole and won three straight to advance. In the second round, they were down 2-0 and won four of the next five to move on.
Now they come back to New York tied 2-2 with two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference final, hoping to turn the tide in Game 5 tonight (8 pm EDT, ESPN) at Madison Square Garden. Two of the last three games will be at home, where they’ve won eight straight.
“I think we’re probably in the best spot we’ve been through three series,” forward Andrew Copp said Wednesday. “We got two games at home. I think we play really good at home. … I think we’re all confident where we’re at right now but there’s got to be an increased level of desperation for sure. “
The Rangers will be looking to rediscover the offense that seemed to be rolling along the first two games when they outscored the Lightning 9-4. They were outscored 7-3 in the two games in Tampa.
New York led 2-0 midway through Game 3 before Tampa Bay scored three times to eke out a win. The Lightning then held the Rangers off the scoreboard until late in the third period of a 4-1 win in Game 4 on Tuesday night that evened the series.
“They haven’t made any mistakes, we haven’t had a lot of scoring chances,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “They did not create a whole lot of scoring chances either, but they have not made the mistakes and I think that’s from experience from winning teams. They don’t give up much and that’s how you win the Stanley Cups. “