Rangers expecting 'more bite' out of Hurricanes in Game 2: 'It’s on us not to get complacent'

The Rangers started Game 1 of their second-round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes with a bang. Mika Zibanejad lit the lamp less than three minutes into the opening period at Madison Square Garden, and after the Canes found a way to quickly answer, a pair of power play goals from Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck gave the Blueshirts a commanding 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

In the final minutes of the third period, Carolina did its best to try to even the score, but the Rangers withstood the late charge to hang on to a 4-3 win and secure a pivotal Game 1 victory.

“I thought our level was pretty good,” Jacob Trouba said on Monday. “I thought the energy, the speed, the physicality was all at the place it needs to be. Obviously, some things that you can clean up, and we’ve gone over some of them, but that same level of energy and compete and attitude, I think that’s key for us to be at our best, and we’re going to have to do that the same way in Game 2.”

As Trouba mentioned, the Rangers know that they’re going to get the best from the Hurricanes in Game 2 on Tuesday night, as Carolina looks to stave off falling into a dreaded two-games-to-none hole. A win for Carolina would not only even things up, but also give them momentum with the series heading to Raleigh for Games 3 and 4.

“Every series kind of takes on its own life, but you lose Game 1 you’re obviously going to come back and play with some desperation, some more bite, I think,” Trouba said. “It’s on us not to get complacent and keep pushing and keep wanting to build our game and play stronger. That’s the challenge ahead of us.”

“I think all year we’ve kind of had the ‘one game at a time’ mindset,” added Barclay Goodrow. “Especially in the playoffs, it’s very important to have. You never know how a team is going to respond, but you assume you’re going to get a better version of that team than you did in the previous game. Obviously, there are things we can do better as well. Obviously, you’re expecting the best.

As the Rangers look to go up 2-0 in the series, they’ll hope to get the same level of production as they received from players like Zibanejad in the opener. The forward scored twice and had an assist on Trocheck’s power play goal, and he believes that he and linemates Chris Kreider and Jack Roslovic are really hitting their stride.

“I feel like I’ve been playing some good hockey to this point, so trying to just keep going,” said Zibanejad, who leads the Rangers with 10 points this postseason. “As a line, I think we’ve been playing well together. … Just trying to keep playing good hockey.”