Following the Rangers’ matinee victory in Game 3 to cut Carolina’s series lead to a 2-1 margin, these teams will square off once again for a pivotal Game 4 at Madison Square Garden tonight. The story remained the same for the Hurricanes, as Sunday’s loss dropped them to 0-4 on the road during these 2022 playoffs. After some shenanigans at the end of the previous game that elicited a response from Gerard Gallant when talking to the media, the Blueshirts appear to have a bit of extra motivation to hand Carolina their fifth consecutive road loss of the playoffs and knot this series up at 2-2.
In the wake of last night’s action, the winner of this series is now guaranteed to host the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. Each team has a score settle with the Bolts, as Carolina’s season ended at the hands of the Lightning last season, and the Blueshirts’ previous window of championship contention was slammed shut by Tampa following a heartbreaking seven game loss in the 2015 Conference Finals. For now, the focus for New York remains on Carolina, and a win tonight will go a long way towards earning another crack at the Lightning.
Player to Watch: Ryan Reaves
The aforementioned nonsense at the end of Game 3 made Gallant point out that if the Hurricanes continue to act the way they did, Reaves will be the one to step in. Although he’s skated no more than twelve shifts in five of the previous six games, there’s reason to believe Reaves will exceed that number tonight. Whether it’s on the scoresheet or somewhere else, look for Reaves to make his presence felt tonight.
Enjoy the game!