Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour seemed to find the Rangers’ reaction to what happened at the end of Sunday’s Game 3 a bit over the top.
“I didn’t listen to any of that stuff,” Brind’Amour said when comments from the Rangers were relayed to him on Monday. “I don’t know what he’s talking about. It’s not like we have guys that send messages.”
Of course, that was not how coach Gerard Gallant and the rest of the Rangers took it when Max Domi cross-checked Ryan Lindgren after Sunday’s game ended. The ensuing scrum, along with some antics on the part of defenseman Tony DeAngelo, had Gallant fuming following the game, when he said Carolina initiated “bulls–t at the end of the game” and made a not so thinly veiled reference to Ryan Reaves getting back at the Hurricanes.
Though Gallant was more calm about the situation Monday, Reaves leaned into it, saying he hoped the intensity carries into Game 4 and he plans to “go run some people and get in their face.”
“I would hope,” Brind’Amour said to that notion. “I don’t know what he’s waiting for. Everybody’s gonna do what they do this time of year.
He added, sarcastically: “And I’m hoping [Andrei Svechnikov] scores goals. You gotta do what you do this time of year, otherwise what good are you? You gotta contribute and do what you’re supposed to do. I would expect nothing less.”
Besides a scoring chance he couldn’t convert in the opener, Reaves has had a mostly quiet series. That figures to change now as the Rangers go into Game 4 with a response on their minds.
The Hurricanes, though, are downplaying the situation altogether.
“I don’t know what message we were just sending, I think we were just playing until the final buzzer,” Seth Jarvis said. “Obviously stuff got a little out of hand, but it’s playoff hockey, it’s a series.”
Whether the Hurricanes like it or not, though, the series has turned a corner. After starting out with a tightly played, clean game from both teams, the physical side of things is now front and center.
“It’s playoffs. It’s pretty normal to get hit or make a hit,” Sebastian Aho said. “It’s intense and fast and it’s a battle out there. It’s nothing new there. I’m not surprised if I get hit in a playoff game. Obviously gotta be ready for it, but like I said, it’s a battle out there.”