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Rangers using 2-day break to rest, reset for Game 6 at Hurricanes

Between the two days the Rangers will review what went wrong in Game 5, but even Laviolette said it’s hard to get a good read on why they were off their game even before allowing Carolina to score four unanswered goals in the third period.

“Last night, it’s just tough to get a real evaluation for anybody,” he said. “It was just a tough game for us and we’re moving past that.”

They can’t move past all the details, like on the power play. Why has it suddenly gone cold, 0-for-8 in the past three games after starting the series 4-for-9, including 2-for-2 in Game 1?

“We have to execute better on our entries,” center Vincent Trocheck said.

Trocheck added that he doesn’t think the Hurricanes have changed what they’re doing on their penalty kill. They’re still aggressive, but the Rangers haven’t handled that pressure well.

They’ve been slow and it’s taken away the attack mindset they had.

“We’ve got to go back and look at how we can get through a little better, how we can set up a little bit easier,” Laviolette said. “There’s a lot of pressure applied from them through the neutral zone and certainly a lot of pressure applied by them in their defensive zone when we’re on the offensive side of things in an in-zone setup. We’re looking to be better in both of those areas.”

Their 5-on-5 game needs to sharpen up. Not only did they not score at 5-on-5 in Game 5, they were held to 15 shots on goal. If they had any Grade-A high-danger chances, they weren’t memorable.

Their only offense came on Jacob Trouba‘s short-handed goal at 6:23 of second period.

“We sacrificed some of our structure in our [defensive] zone and I think as a result we were working hard in areas but not smart, especially early on,” forward Chris Kreider said after Game 5. “We gave up a lot of odd-man rushes, which isn’t something we’ve done all series. We tightened it up, but we don’t exactly play detailed hockey. We started dumping pucks on their goaltender as opposed to putting them in places to forecheck, or hard-rimming pucks and not getting to the neutral zone. They do the simple things and over time those are eventually going to lead to chances and results.”

It all led to a snowball effect in the third period, when the Hurricanes scored three goals in a span of 6:23 before Martin Necas capped it with an empty-net goal at 16:29.

“We’re looking at it with regard to what we need to do to be better,” Laviolette said. “I think it comes in a lot of different ways that we can try to do that. I go back to, we’ve got a lot of confidence as a group. There’s been games this year where we haven’t played well and the guys responded with a much better effort the next game. There’s some history there. We’ll take the day to reset, get in some good work tomorrow and then be ready to play. There’s a lot of history with our group that we can sharpen up and be ready.”

That’s also a positive spin after a negative night.