The Carolina Hurricanes spent part of Monday practicing, letting goalie Frederik Andersen get some work, making some power play changes.
The New York Rangers’ Ryan Reaves, meanwhile, was sending a message to the Canes and making a promise, although some might call it a not-so-veiled threat.
After an ugly finish to Game 3 in the Canes-Rangers playoff series, with two players fighting and Rangers coach Gerard Gallant firing off expletives from the bench, it’s hard to gauge how Game 4 will play out Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Gallant had a verbal exchange with Canes defenseman Tony DeAngelo after the Rangers’ 3-1 victory ended, then used another expletive in his postgame press conference to describe the Canes’ Max Domi mixing it up with New York’s Ryan Lindgren.
With the final seconds ticking off, Domi gave Lindgren a cross-check in the back, Lindgren responded by turning and slashing Domi and the two soon were wrestling on the ice.
Gallant took exception to the ending, saying, “They’re not sending any message. We got the guy that can handle all their guys if we want to.”
Meaning Reaves. The fourth-line forward is the Rangers’ deterrent — some would call him “enforcer” — to anyone taking liberties with his teammates. Reaves, listed at 6-2 and 225 pounds, can throw his weight around and can drop the gloves and throw, as well.
What Gallant asks of him, Reaves tries to deliver. He did in Vegas when Gallant coached him with the Golden Knights, and now with the Rangers.
Asked Monday about his mindset for Game 4, Reaves said: “I’m going to do my thing, run some people and get in their face and try to get the same result as last night — another win.”
Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour, whose team holds a 2-1 series lead, more or less shrugged off such talk.
“I don’t know what he’s waiting for then,” Brind’Amour said Monday. “Everybody’s going to do what they do this time of year. … You’ve got to do what you do this time of year, otherwise what good are you? You’ve got to contribute and do what you’re supposed to do.”
Brind’Amour decided on holding a full team practice after the Game 3 loss, after going 0-3 on the power play. Andersen was the first player on the ice at Madison Square Garden and practiced with the team for the first time since his April 16 lower-body injury while Antti Raanta was given the day off.
Brind’Amour made one tweak to the power-play units, moving Nino Niederreiter to the first unit and shifting Teuvo Teravainen to the second unit. With the Canes 5-for-43 on the power play in the playoffs — 0-7 in the Rangers series — something had to be done, and was.
“One group has been good at creating chances. Our top unit hasn’t been good,” Brind’Amour said. “Just trying to shake it up there and see where it goes.”
Rookie forward Seth Jarvis has been a part of the top power-play unit and said having Niederreiter stalking the front of the net could be a plus. Niederreiter had the size, willingness and toughness to get around the crease and create more problems for Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin.
“He’s a great presence there,” Jarvis said. “He always finds those kind of dirty rebounds to bang home. Just another big body. When there’s a bunch of 50-50 pucks, I think he’ll help out.”
As for the Canes sending some kind of message at the end of Game 3 … the rookie could only shake his head.
“I don’t know what message we’re sending,” Jarvis said. “I think we’re just playing to the final buzzer. Obviously things got out of hand, but it’s playoff hockey.”