'I jumped right back in': Tyler Motte back in the fold as Rangers prep for second round

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TARRYTOWN — Tyler Motte's return late in the first round series against Pittsburgh provided a boost that helped the Rangers advance to the second round. A trade deadline acquisition from Vancouver, Motte appeared in nine games before an upper-body injury on April 7 against the Penguins kept him out for more than a month.

"I felt ready," said Motte. "I was confident to go out and play. I was really itching to be a part of this time of year. If you're good enough, you go out and you give it everything you've got."

Motte provided a spark in the final two games of the series against Pittsburgh and his importance will be evident in the second round against Carolina, beginning Wednesday in Raleigh.

"I jumped right back in, for the most part," Motte said Tuesday. "It's not easy missing five weeks. Just trying to find a role. Our team is clicking and I'm trying to get involved in a positive way. My game is fairly simple to get back to. It's no fun watching hockey this time of the year, especially when your team is in it."

Since the Rangers lost Barclay Goodrow during Game 1 of the Pittsburgh series to a lower-body injury, Motte will serve an added level importance in the second round. Motte served on the fourth line during Tuesday's practice alongside Kevin Rooney and Ryan Reaves.

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64) skates with the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman (52) defends during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-3.
May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers center Tyler Motte (64) skates with the puck as Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman (52) defends during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-3.

"We're confident in our group," said Motte. "Game 1 is going to be a different feel, for sure, but we just got to get to our game early and play our game. I think you saw last series when we were at our best, it's fun to play all through our lines and get everyone involved. When we're able to do that, we're a pretty competitive group."

The Rangers will likely rely upon Motte in defensive situations and on the penalty kill against a dangerous Hurricanes power play unit. No team had more chances with a man advantage during the first round than the 36 power play opportunities awarded to Carolina in its first round series with Boston.

Related: Previewing NY Rangers-Hurricanes series: Key matchups, players to watch and 3 questions

Related: Game 7 takeaways: Artemi Panarin's OT winner completes NY Rangers' turnaround

No speech needed for Gallant

There was no rowdy or inspirational pep talk from Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant before Game 7 against Pittsburgh on Sunday. There won't be any speech for the team before Wednesday's series opener in Carolina, either, according to Gallant.

"I do the same thing as I do for game one of the regular season," Gallant said. "I'm not putting more importance into this game than the other one. Players have enough pressure. We try to take pressure off of them. Just go play the game and have fun."

Gallant stressed the importance of keeping players rested and relaxed while not adding any extra attention to the playoff atmosphere.

"We have our preparation," said Gallant. "I guess what I'm saying is I'm not going to bring someone in from the Buffalo Bills or someone like that to give a speech. Some coaches might like it, but I don't."

Lindgren does not practice; expected to play Game 1

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) during NHL action against Louis Blues, Wednesday March 2, 2022, in New York.
New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) during NHL action against Louis Blues, Wednesday March 2, 2022, in New York.

The most notable name missing from Rangers practice on Tuesday was defenseman Ryan Lindgren, who had returned during the Pittsburgh series following a lower body injury in Game 1. Lindgren was listed as having a maintenance day by the Rangers and Gallant was not worried about his status for Wednesday's series opener.

"There is no worry," said Gallant.

Lindgren missed Games 2 through 4, but returned for the final three games of the series, all Rangers wins.

His return boosted the Rangers to a comeback in the series and has helped fellow defenseman Adam Fox in their pairing. Lindgren had a goal in Game 5 and an assist in Game 6 while also combining for three hits and six blocked shots since his return. The 24-year-old has not practiced since his injury in Game 1.

This article originally appeared on Rockland/Westchester Journal News: NY Rangers have Tyler Motte vs Hurricanes in NHL playoffs