Rangers center Vincent Trocheck celebrates after scoring during the first...

Rangers center Vincent Trocheck celebrates after scoring during the first period of Game 4 during the Eastern Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs against the Florida Panthers, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. Credit: AP/Wilfredo Lee

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — With his team facing playoff elimination for the first time this postseason, Vincent Trocheck chose to spin the Rangers’ situation into something of a positive.

“I think we look at it as an opportunity,’’ he said from behind a table in the Rangers’ hotel. “Obviously, you have to play with more desperation; your back’s against the wall. It’s win or go home. So I think we look at it and we have to kind of embrace this.

“We said it multiple times: Winning the Stanley Cup is not supposed to be easy. And it’s these kinds of moments that really form a team into a team that can become a championship team.’’

The Rangers, trailing Florida 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, will face the Panthers in Game 6 on Saturday night at Amerant Bank Arena. They must win to force a Game 7 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

If they lose . . .

Thirty years ago, the Rangers were down 3-2 against the Devils in the conference finals. They needed to win Game 6 in New Jersey to stay alive, and captain Mark Messier expressed confidence that the Blueshirts would come through. He scored a hat trick to make it happen, the Rangers went on to beat the Devils in double overtime in Game 7 at the Garden, and they finished the story by winning their first Stanley Cup in 54 years.

As the Rangers arrived in Florida on Friday for Game 6 of this year’s Eastern Conference final, there was no Messier-style bravado from anyone — just a recognition of the situation they are in and what needs to happen to keep their Stanley Cup dream alive.

“We have no other option but to bring our best game tomorrow,’’ said forward Barclay Goodrow, a two-time Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. “We knew it was going to be a long series. And it’s the first team to four wins [that advances].’’

The Rangers are in this predicament because they lost Game 5 at the Garden, 3-2. They were dominated in Games 3 and 4 in Florida earlier in the week but managed to get a split of the two games, both of which went to overtime.

They played better in Game 5 but lost anyway. Anton Lundell scored to break a 1-1 tie midway through the third period and Sam Bennett added an empty-net goal with 1:52 remaining to make it 3-1. Alexis Lafreniere’s goal with 49.7 seconds left pulled the Rangers within 3-2, but they weren’t able to tie it.

The question to coach Peter Laviolette on Friday was whether he can get the Rangers to play Game 6 in Florida the way they did in Games 1, 2 and 5 at home, when they played the Panthers even.

“We were taking on too much and playing too much defense [in the games in Florida],’’ he said. “Through some small adjustments and talking through it with the guys, we were able to get things settled down a little bit [in Game 5]. And so that was good. But we’re back in this building, and we’ll have to make sure that we do that tomorrow. We’re gonna look to play a better game.’’

One of the things that must turn around for the Rangers to have a chance is their power play. They were 10-for-25 (40%) on the power play in their first six playoff games but are 1-for-24 with the man advantage since then, including 1-for-14 in five games against the Panthers.

“There’s been times that we haven’t been as sharp as others, and there’s been times that we’ve moved the puck really well, gotten a lot of chances, and Bob [Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky] made really good saves,’’ Trocheck said. “And sometimes you’ve just got to tip your cap in those situations.’’

Laviolette said the power play, which had 13 shot attempts, generated some opportunities in Game 5.

“It’s not like we’re sitting there and we’re completely stymied by [Florida’s penalty kill],’’ he said. “We just haven’t scored. We need to score.’’

But Laviolette is confident they will find a way.

“There should be a lot of confidence in our team,’’ he said. “We won 55 games in the regular season, won 10 games in the playoffs. Our group knows how to win hockey games. We’ve got to wake up tomorrow and win a hockey game.’’

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