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NHL - US Sports: Rangers must compete harder

Coach Gerard Gallant has challenged the New York Rangers to compete harder on their powerplay after falling 2-0 down in the Eastern Conference Second round to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers, 6/1 to turn around the series and progress past the Hurricanes, have struggled for offence in the opening two games, scoring just once in 2-1 and 2-0 defeats.

In large part, 58-year-old Gallant says he's happy with the performance of his side over the two narrow games, but pointed to his powerplay, which has gone 0-for-5 as a source of concern.

Powerplay struggles

On four attempts with the man advantage in Game 2, New York generated just two shots, and to make matters worse, the Hurricanes' game-winner came whilst they were short-handed.

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Overall in Game 2, the Rangers had 21 shots on Carolina's net, the fewest of their nine playoff games so far, putting additional pressure on their specials teams to find a way to produce.

The Rangers finished the NHL regular season second in the Metropolitan Division (52-24-6), six points behind the Hurricanes.

Their strong season was helped by a 25.2 per cent success rate on the powerplay, bettered by just three teams. Including a seven game First Round series win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Rangers have gone 25 per cent in the post-season, which ranks seventh.

'A lot of pressure'

Gallant said to the media: "I'm seeing a great penalty kill put a lot of pressure on them.

"We didn't find the inside man very often in the slot, the bumper guy. They put on a lot of pressure, and we just didn't adjust to it quick enough. We've got to compete a little harder, I think."

Game 3 of the series is in New York on Sunday.

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