NEW YORK — If the Carolina Hurricanes wanted 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 initiated,” Gallant said after Rangers’ 3-1 win on Sunday that cut Carolina’s lead to 2-1 in the second round. “We didn’t do that when the games were close. They sent their boys out. That’s fine. If they want to play like that, we have the guys who can keep up with them.”
As the buzzer sounded at the end of Game 3, Carolina forward Max gave Domi Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren a countercheck in the New York zone. Lindgren replied to Domi with a slash. This brought all the players together on the ice, with Lindgren wrestling Domi onto the ice in a headlock.
Meanwhile, Gallant could be seen on the benches yelling angrily at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo as the players left the ice. DeAngelo, whose contract was bought out by Rangers last summer after a series of behavioral issues, was booed by Madison Square Garden fans and targeted with derogatory chants throughout the game.
Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said he wasn’t aware Gallant snapped at one of his players. As for the incident with Domi after the buzzer, he said: “I didn’t really see what happened so I can’t comment.”
Gallant saw it clearly from the Rangers bench and lamented what he believed to be an attempt by the Hurricanes to message ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 in New York.
“The game is over. You don’t send a message. We have the guy who can handle all her boys if we want to. We didn’t do it that way,” Gallant said in a not-very-disguised tone, referring to New York enforcer Ryan Reaves, who played Game 3 8:24. Reaves – one of the Rangers’ key offseason additions after missing the postseason 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 about things. It could be on the other foot one day,” Gallant said.
Rangers won Game 3 with timely defense and superb goalkeeping from Igor Shesterkin, despite having missed a stopper from Nino Niederreiter for the only Hurricanes goal. Shesterkin stopped 43 shots in the win and helped Rangers on penalties thwart three Carolina power plays. The Rangers were credited with 17 blocked shots in the game.
New York, meanwhile, converted to its first power-play goal of the series from center Mika Zibanejad and gave Rangers the crucial lead at home.
The loss continued a postseason trend for Carolina, who have six wins at Raleigh but are yet to win a game away from home in two rounds after losing all three games in Boston in their previous series.
“It’s difficult to win away from home in this league. They played hard away today,” said Gallant. “Hopefully this series goes like (the Bostonians) and then in Game 7 we’ll find a way to win that big game in their building.”