Jacob Trouba leveled Max Domi with a big hit early in game three, and the Hurricanes’ response led to a power play for the Rangers, who broke through against Carolina’s league-best penalty kill unit to grab a 1-0 lead and set the tone for a win in game four.
In the eyes of Andrew Copp, the hit on Domi wasn’t retaliation for his hit to Ryan Lindgren’s back in the closing seconds of game three. The hit was simply a play that resulted in a man advantage, and an opportunity to even the series, which is just what New York did.
“We’re not out there trying to catch guys at all and play stupid or anything like that,” Copp said. “We’re not tying to catch guys at all or plat stupid or anything like that. We’re just trying to finish checks when were there and play physical when we can and make smart decisions.
“At the end of the day, them taking the two minutes changed the course of the game. We score on the power play and then it’s 1-0, and scoring first has been huge in this series.”
It certainly seemed like there would be a response to the Domi hit, as Blueshirts enforcer Ryan Reaves told reporters he would be looking to ramp up the physicality, and Trouba went right after Domi with a hit that many believed was dirty. But Copp said the point of any hit to any Canes skater wasn’t meant to send a message or meant as any form of retaliation. Any move the Rangers made on Tuesday was with a desire to win a game and avoid a 3-1 series deficit.
“It’s not ‘Now they’re intimidated’ or anything like that,” Copp said. “Everyone’s gotten hit, everyone’s gotten caught a couple times. It’s not headhunting at all. It was a good hit, and their response warranted a penalty, and that was a big play in the game.”
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1