GREENBURGH, N.Y. — After Monday’s short optional skate, Rangers forward Ryan Reaves was asked if he thinks the postgame nastiness on Sunday will carry over to Game 4 on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
“I hope so,’’ he said.
The veteran enforcer was on the ice at the end of the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the Hurricanes in Game 3 of the teams’ second-round playoff series, when Carolina forward Max Domi went after Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren and the two ended up rolling around on the ice in a fight after the final horn sounded.
“It happens in playoff games,’’ Reaves said of the altercation. “I guess guys feel a little braver because [they know] scrums like that probably aren’t going to result in anything. I wish I was a little quicker to the scrum, for sure. I was a little behind, but I wish I would have grabbed him first.’’
Coach Gerard Gallant was hot at the end off the game, engaging in a shouting match with Carolina players — in particular, former Ranger Tony DeAngelo — after Domi, son of former Rangers enforcer Tie Domi, engaged with Lindgren.
DeAngelo, always a mouthy player, was yapping at the Rangers’ bench about it, and Gallant got into it with him.
After the game, Gallant used an expletive to describe Domi’s antics. But on Monday, the coach insisted that all of the hard feelings were gone.
“It’s in the past,’’ he said. “You get ready for the next game. The games are too important. It’s over with. It was a minor thing. In the heat of the battle, it’s an issue, but when it’s over, it’s over. Move on to the next one.’’
The next one is Tuesday, and the Rangers will have a chance to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
As far as the Domi-Lindgren fight, and any bad blood between the teams that might carry over after it, Gallant said he actually doesn’t mind that sort of thing in a playoff series.
“It doesn’t hurt,’’ he said with a smile. “Certain series, there’s a lot of that, and certain series, there’s really none of that. For me, with my team, I don’t think it hurts us one bit. I think it helps us. I like to see our guys get a little [angry] once in a while. We play better.’’
Gallant said it is easier for him to say that because his team has the 35-year-old Reaves, who is one of the most feared fighters in the NHL (and possibly No. 1). Gallant has peace of mind knowing that if trouble starts, Reaves will be there to deal with it.
“It’s not about him going out there fighting,’’ Gallant said. “I mean, what’s he fought, [three times] this year? And the other guys challenged him. So he’s just an insurance blanket for you there, you know? Our guys know what we’ve got [in Reaves]. And he’s a big part of our group.’’
Reaves, who played for Gallant with the Golden Knights, said bad blood is not uncommon between teams that are playing tight, physical games against one another every other night for up to seven games in a two-week period. And he agreed with Gallant that if it carries over from Game 3 into Game 4 and beyond, that will be good for the Rangers.
“I think if you looked at some games [where] that’s happened throughout the year, I think when more guys get engaged, some of those top guys, I think they started playing a little more physical and getting in battles a little bit more,’’ Reaves said. “I think our team kind of thrives on that.’’