Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette on the practice ice at...

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette on the practice ice at the team's training center before the Eastern Conference finals. Credit: Sofia Sawchuk

GREENBURGH – You can make adjustments when you are down a game in a playoff series, but they had better work.

The Rangers trail in a playoff series for the first time this postseason after taking a 3-0 loss to the Florida Panthers Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.  

Coach Peter Laviolette must find a way to get his team to respond to make sure the Rangers at least get a split of the first two games at home.

Game 2 is Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

“I definitely would rather have won the game last night,’’ Laviolette said Thursday. “That didn't happen. Now the focus shifts to Game 2 for us and that's all we can control… You have seven games to win four. And now we have six games to win four.

“Can we win [Game 2] tomorrow night? I definitely believe we can win tomorrow night. So that that goes back to us taking care of things today and having some meetings and talking with small adjustments and getting our game a little bit back in order to what we're comfortable with and what we're happy with.’’

Laviolette tinkered with his lineup Wednesday, switching up his lines in the second period as he tried to generate more offense with his team trailing 1-0. It started with moving Filip Chytil, playing his second game in six-and-a-half months – and his first since Game 3 of the second round series against Carolina – up on the Mika Zibanejad-Chris Kreider line. When Chytil wasn’t there, Laviolette double-shifted Artemi Panarin with Zibanejad and Kreider.

Jack Roslovic, whose spot Chytil and Panarin rotated into, dropped down to a reconfigured third line, which had Will Cuylle on the left and Alex Wennberg in the middle. Kaapo Kakko went to the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey. But there were all kinds of line combinations the rest of the game. For one shift early in the third period, after a Rangers power play expired, the old Kid Line of Alexis Lafreniere, Chytil, and Kakko took a spin.

“We were halfway through the game, we had nine shots on net,’’ Laviolette explained of the line juggling. “You're looking at the game, we're just not generating and penetrating the way we want it to be in the second period. Oftentimes this year, I've taken a couple players and I've double shifted them. And when you double shift, and to move players around, other players are going into different places. It was just to try and find some sort of jump, or spark.’’

Laviolette said changing up the lines to start Game 2 is certainly an option. He’s gone on record more than once saying he won’t break up the Panarin-Vincent Trocheck-Lafreniere line, but aside from that, everything else is likely in play.

There is also the question of whether Chytil, who was sidelined for six months with what is generally assumed to have been a concussion, suffered in early November, will be available to play in Game 2. Chytil took a big hit from Florida’s Niko Mikkola at the end of the game, and since the Rangers did not practice Thursday, it is unknown if he is OK after absorbing that hit. Laviolette said Wednesday night that Chytil was fine, and on Thursday, when asked again about Chytil, he said there was “nothing to report.’’

If Chytil isn’t available, who will replace him? As they have done several times this season, fans in the Garden Wednesday chanted, “We want Rempe!’’ calling for the 6-8 rookie, Matt Rempe. Rempe would be one of Laviolette’s options, along with Jonny Brodzinski and possibly Blake Wheeler, who has not played since suffering a major leg injury in mid-February, but who has been practicing for weeks and could be ready to return.

If Laviolette makes lineup changes, or shuffles the lines, the players said they will adjust.

“I think over the course of a year, you get used to playing with different guys [and in] different situations,’’ forward Barclay Goodrow said. “So I think everyone's ready at all times to go with whoever. It’s just something we've been used to over the year.’’

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