The company line for the Hurricanes following the Max Domi-induced fisticuffs at the end of Game 3 has been to scoff at the Rangers’ reaction to the situation.
Domi himself would agree.
“That was literally a nothing play,” Domi told The Post on Tuesday morning, regarding his cross-check on Ryan Lindgren that sent sparks flying. “Not sure what the big overreaction is. A little cross-check isn’t a big deal.”
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant was visibly upset after the game, getting caught on camera cursing at Carolina defensemen Tony DeAngelo and using his postgame press conference to call out the Hurricanes’ handling of the end of the game, which the Rangers won 3-1.
“Domi took a cheap shot at our defenseman,” Gallant said. “You got a long memory. You think about things, like I said, [the shoe] might be on the other foot someday.”
Though Gallant had calmed down by the time he next spoke in front of a camera, it’s clear the situation has changed how the Rangers are approaching the series.
“I guess guys feel a little braver cause they know scrums like that probably aren’t gonna result in anything,” the Rangers’ enforcer-in-chief Ryan Reaves said Monday. “I wish I was a little quicker to the scrum, for sure. I was a little behind, but I wish I would’ve grabbed him first.”
Lindgren has been playing through injury this postseason, visibly struggling at times and taking a puck to the face at one point during Game 2 to add to his troubles. That, doubtless, has added fuel to the Rangers’ feeling about the situation.
“Hey, they can do whatever they want,” Domi said. “We’re just worried about winning. One thing — and that’s trying to win that game tonight. So to me that’s all noise, all distraction. Just get ready to go tonight and try to take care of business.”
Domi had little interest in fanning the flames. While the Rangers are happy to admit the series has gotten nastier — and maybe even say they like it that way — Domi said he doesn’t see much of a difference between Game 1, which saw just one penalty called on each team, and now .
“We have our way of playing and we’ll just stick to that,” he said. “It works for us. We don’t have to change much.”
Though Gallant paid lip service to avoiding a stupid play in the name of responding to Domi and DeAngelo, he’s happy to see his team play with an edge.
“I don’t think it hurts us one bit,” he said. “I think it helps us.”
Does it factor in at all for the man who started the whole situation?
“Not even a little bit,” Domi said. “Means literally nothing to us.”