Comeback Rangers ready to face Penguins in Game 7

When the New York Rangers returned from Pittsburgh earlier this week, they were on the verge of being eliminated by the Penguins after a two-game road loss.

After two dynamic comeback victories, they have some momentum as they head back home on Sunday night (7 p.m. ET, TBS) for a decisive Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

“Game 7 means a lot to us and now we have to make sure we finish tomorrow and play the right way,” Rangers coach Gerald Gallant said Saturday. “We worked hard to recover. I think everyone was very excited. … It’s a big game, of course. It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to it.”

After falling into a 3-1 series hole, the Rangers won 5-3 — at home, then back away — to tie. They trailed 2-0 in their last two victories before surging on three straight in the second quarter to allow the Penguins to tie the game again. New York then withdrew in the third quarter.

Gallant said he’s not concerned about the team’s seemingly slow start as long as they end up winning.

“As long as we do it the right way, I don’t care. It’s all about winning hockey games,” he said. “It’s worked out for us so far, but I obviously don’t like it.”

Recovering from a deficit is nothing new for these Rangers. In the regular season, they had 27 comeback wins — just two shy of the league-leading Florida Panthers.

“We didn’t give up – that’s what I love about this team,” Mika Zibanejad said after the latest win. “We’ve been showing it all year, throughout the series. … It’s special for this team and we’re going to try to keep it going.”

The Penguins have been through this before, as they went 3-0 in head coach Mike Sullivan’s Game 7, including a decisive game against Washington in the second round of the 2017 playoffs.

“We have a lot of confidence in our game plan,” Pittsburgh forward Jeff Carter said. “If you come in with the right mindset and then leave it all behind, most of the time you come out on top. That’s what we’re going to do.”

The Penguins could get a boost from the possible return of injured players Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Ricard Lacker. They both practiced Saturday and will travel to New York for the series finale. Jarry has not played since April 14, Lacker was injured in Game 1 of the series and Crosby left in the second quarter of Game 5.

It was the fourth time in Rangers history that they were forced to play a Game 7 while trailing 3-1 in the series. Forward Chris Kreider was the only player to do it the last two times — against the Penguins in the second round in 2014 and against Washington in the second round in 2015 — and won every decisive game the match of.

His message to his teammates was simple.

“Just need to settle down and start our game,” Creed said. “I think over the last two games we’ve been better at that. … Since we lost, we’ve been treating every game like it’s Game 7. , it’s a matter of life and death for us, so nothing has changed.”

The stars are in flames, series tied 3-3 (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

The Wild Card Stars won Game 6 at home, forcing the first round into Game 5 of Game 7, just shy of the 1992 conference semifinals (six games) and the most in a single playoff round in NHL history.

“The league wanted to make it competitive and tight, and they got it,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said. “It’s a tough league and it shows how the competitive balance is there. I know we shouldn’t still be playing. “We should be going on a golf vacation now, but that’s not what we intended. We didn’t go into the playoffs to be a stepping stone to someone else’s second round. “

Although the Flames will play their seventh game since the first round of the 2008 playoffs against San Jose, head coach Daryl Sutter is the master of the tiebreaker. At 7-3, he is the league leader in coaching wins in Game 7 and will be the leader in Game 7 appearances. It would be the first time he led the Los Angeles Kings to a three-game road series final victory on the way to the 2014 Stanley Cup title.

In Game 7 of the second round of the 2020 playoffs, the Stars’ final game was against Colorado in Edmonton as they prepared to reach the Stanley Cup finals.

Bowness wasn’t sure about the status of forward Luke Glendin, who was hit hard by Calgary’s Nikita Zadorov at the start of the second quarter of Game 6. There was no penalty for the game, but Glendin rested on the ice for a few minutes and headed to the locker room. He sat on the bench in the third quarter, but did not play.

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