New York Rangers center Jack Roslovic sets before a face...

New York Rangers center Jack Roslovic sets before a face off against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, May 5, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

RALEIGH, N.C. — All the Rangers were fired up Thursday night after their sudden victory in overtime of Game 3 of their playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes. But forward Jack Roslovic seemed particularly excited.

And given where Roslovic had come from, that was perfectly understandable.

Little more than two months ago Roslovic, 27, was going nowhere, playing on a Columbus Blue Jackets team mired at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. On Saturday, Roslovic was playing on the first line of a Rangers team that held a 3-0 lead over the Hurricanes, and was looking to complete its second sweep of the playoffs, and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

One could almost see the pure joy in Roslovic’s face as he walked around the bowels of PNC Arena Thursday night, and again Friday, at the Rangers’ optional practice before Game 4.

“Yeah, it's really fun,’’ Roslovic said Friday of the playoff ride the Rangers are on. “It's really special to be a part of it. Even just the little things of, you know, being able to hang out with some guys in the hotel room after wins. It's obviously, you know, really high right now. So we’ve got to just keep the wave going.’’

Certainly, the Rangers knew Carolina would be desperate, and giving everything they had to win Game 4 and stay alive in the series. But up until Saturday, everything had gone right for the Rangers, who had won their first seven games of the postseason. And Roslovic had contributed two goals and three assists  in those first seven games.

“His speed, and the way he can hang on to the puck, he's produced for us in the playoffs, here,’’ Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said at the team’s morning skate Saturday. “Roslovic has done exactly what I think we hoped he would do when he came in here… He's shifty. He's crafty. And he's done a really good job playing with Mika [Zibanejad] and Kreids [Chris Kreider].’’

“I think [Roslovic] adds another threat to our line, that we can challenge the ‘D’ wide, and… he has a good shot, too,’’ Zibanejad said. “He's been really good for us, and especially the way he skates, and the way he can attack. That's a good thing for us, especially with our line in the past, we’ve been good off the rush. That's a huge piece for us.’’

Roslovic, acquired at the March 8 trade deadline from Columbus for a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2026 that will become a third-rounder if the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final this year, didn’t always look like he’d be such a huge piece. He had three goals and five assists in 19 games in the regular season and was a healthy scratch for one game, though Laviolette at the time chalked it up to his efforts to make sure all his forwards got to play some games down the stretch.

But Roslovic has looked much better in the playoffs. Zibanejad pointed out that the team didn’t have much practice time after Roslovic arrived, until the season ended, and the Rangers had a few days between the end of the season and the start of the playoffs.

“We had those days where we kind of regrouped, and just got the chance to talk, got the chance to work on stuff in practice,’’ Zibanejad said. “And I think that's normal. Sometimes it clicks right away, you don't even have to talk about it. Sometimes it takes a little more time, and you have to work through some things. But in terms of that, I think it's gotten better.’’

All of that explains why Roslovic just might be the happiest guy on the Rangers these days.

“I look back to in 2018 when I was playing… in the playoffs with Winnipeg,’’ Roslovic said. “And when you're young and in the moment, and in the playoffs, you kind of take it for granted. You're like, ‘Oh, you can kind of do this every year. Just get on a good team and play well.’

“I've learned to really cherish this moment, and take advantage of all the ups, all the downs, all the teaching moments,’’ he said. “All the highs all the lows.’’

Entering Saturday, Roslovic was on quite the high.

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