Rangers look to regroup with series lead

The New York Rangers aren’t dwelling on their first loss of the postseason. They still have plenty of confidence.

The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers now head home with a 3-1 series lead as they face the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series on Monday night (7 p.m., ESPN).

“When we play our game we can play pretty well, generate offense,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “Turn the page pretty quick and focus on Game 5.”

The Rangers had won their first seven games of the playoffs, sweeping Washington in the first round and winning the first three against Carolina, which was third in the league standings — three points behind New York. However, the Rangers fell short in their bid to become the first team in nearly 40 years to open a postseason with eight consecutive wins.

They rallied from two goals down to tie the score before giving up the go-ahead goal late in the Hurricanes’ 4-3 win in Game 4 on Saturday night.

“Regroup, obviously learn from some of the mistakes and try to get that one on home ice,” defenseman Adam Fox said. “Gotta win one game at home. They’re not gonna go down easy and just give us that fourth win, so definitely gonna have to earn it. But I think this group has shown all year how resilient we are and I’m pretty confident that we’ll respond.”

The Rangers now head back to New York in front of their raucous fans at Madison Square Garden, where they led the league with 30 home wins.

“We got to make sure we take care of what we do on the ice,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’re going back home to our building that has been so good, so strong. Our fans are incredible, and now to have that energy in the building behind us will be important.”

The Hurricanes will be looking to build on getting their first power-play goal of the series, on defenseman Brady Skjei’s tiebreaking goal with 3:11 left in Game 4. Carolina, which was second in the league at 26.9% during the season, had gone 0 for 15 over the first three games and failed to convert on its first advantage of the game before Skjei came through.

Despite the power-play struggles, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour had said repeatedly he liked the way his team was playing 5-on-5, where the teams are now even with nine goals apiece. The Rangers are plus-3 in power-play goals along with having a short-handed score as the difference in a series in which every game has been decided by one goal.

“All I want to say is it’s just going be a dogfight tomorrow,” Hurricanes forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “There is one bowl of food and two dogs are going to compete (with) each other. They know they don’t want to come back here (for a potential Game 6), they know it’s going to be hell here. They want to finish up there. … We’re just trying to put the pressure on them a little bit and play our game.”

Stars at Avalanche

The Stars have yet to play while trailing in a game in this series, and now they have the lead as they face the Avalanche in Game 4.

Dallas is starting to get scoring from more players now, too. One game after six-time All-Star forward Tyler Seguin got his first goal in these playoffs, he got two more in Game 3 and rookie Logan Stankoven got his first two in the Stars’ 4-1 win.

“It’s a long postseason, just one game at a time and every game feels like a new opportunity to make your mark on the postseason,” Stars goalie Jake Oettinger said. “We’ve had different guys step up every game. It’s going to take that to get through these guys.”

Colorado has trailed in each of the first three games, and the only time the Avs were ahead on the scoreboard was on Miles Wood’s overtime goal for a 4-3 win in Game 1.

“We got to make it a little bit tougher on (Stars goalie Jake) Oettinger,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “Get traffic there.”

The Avalanche will be back at Ball Arena, where they are now 33-10-1, including 2-1 in the playoffs. The Stars were a league-best 26-10-5 on the road during the season and have won three of four playoff games away from home.

“We knew coming into this rink how these guys play,” Seguin said. “We also know how we play on the road. … We knew it’d be a big challenge. I think next game’s going to be an even bigger challenge, but playoffs are about those moments and getting the right bounces at times as well.”

AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.


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