It’s often said that experience in playoff hockey is important if you have it and meaningless if you don’t.
But the Rangers’ wealth of experience – namely as a group – is certainly beneficial for the club as it looks to even their best-of-seven series tonight in Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens.
Six Rangers in tonight’s lineup have appeared in three Eastern Conference Finals and a Stanley Cup Final since 2012, with another three with playing in two Conference Finals and a Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers have an additional four players who appeared in the 2015 Conference Final against Tampa Bay.
Long story short, the Rangers have been in this position before.
“That’s the biggest thing right now is there can’t be any panic,” said Derek Stepan, who has appeared in every playoff series for the Rangers since 2011. “It’s a 2-1 series and if we win one it’s 2-2, now it’s a three-game series. It’s as simple as focusing and keeping it just on Game 4. Let’s just focus on that. We can’t run ourselves into panic or run ourselves into trouble.”
Being down a game in a series isn’t anything new for the Blueshirts. They trailed Ottawa 2012 and followed it up by overcoming a 2-0 and 3-2 series holes against the Capitals the following season.
The Rangers famously overcame 3-1 holes in 2014 against Pittsburgh and again against Washington in 2015.