NEW YORK -- Practice for the New York Rangers went from optional to mandatory. Their attitude shifted from agitated to optimistic.
For the third straight series, the Eastern Conference's top-seeded team is all even through four games, and each time New York has headed into Game Five off the disappointment of a loss that would have given the Rangers a commanding 3-1 edge.
The negative view would be that they can't handle prosperity. The positive outlook is that the Rangers have a knack of bouncing back. After all, they advanced from this spot in the opening two rounds with Game Seven victories in the comfort of Madison Square Garden.
The task at hand against the rival New Jersey Devils in the conference finals is difficult, yet satisfyingly familiar. The Rangers have lost three straight Game Twos after series-opening wins and all three Game Fours following Game Three victories. They have won two in a row only once in 18 in playoff games. Game Five is at home tonight (8 p.m., Ch. 5 and NBCSN).
"I guess it's a positive. We're used to this situation," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said Tuesday.