- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
- 0 Shares
Rangers center Mike Rupp suggested the roughing penalty called against him in the third period Monday sparked his outburst, although he didn't say why he jabbed Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
"I felt like it was a situational call and I just responded that moment and that was that," Rupp said Tuesday, following the team's practice at MSG. "Nothing else going into that but that, and those things happen in this game and not really much more than that."
With the Rangers trailing 3-0 in the third period, Rupp leveled Pater Harrold behind the Devils' net and the referees called a penalty. Rupp proceeded to shove Anton Volchenkov and then took a jab at Brodeur, inciting a ruckus between the teams.
Rupp received a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct. He said he was surprised to be penalized for his hit, and that there were no words exchanged between him and Brodeur. Rupp has not tallied a point in the playoffs.
"It's a hockey game and some things happen in a moment, and [we're] just focused on this game tomorrow," Rupp said. "We need to win on home ice."
Rupp says he has not watched any highlights of his altercations, saying that it's not the storyline for the team as it heads into a pivotal Game 5. He added that the team's performance at the time did not play a role in why he reacted that way.
"In those two seconds, no, I don't have the time to really think about anything. It's a reaction, and I actually thought we had been playing pretty good in the second period and stretches of the third," Rupp said. "It's one of those things."
Monday night's game marked the most notable occasion of the Rangers losing their cool, a stark contrast to the usual business-like nature of the team. The center and his teammates are not concerned about a loss of composure carrying over.
"It's something that comes up," forward Ryan Callahan said. "It happens in the playoffs. You run on emotions. It's part of it. And we obviously have to stay out of the box more. They got a good power play, and [to] go into the box that many times, you're not going to win a game."
While the Rangers didn't much energy throughout the course of the game, they certainly showed fight, with their players not afraid to mix it up. Rupp said it's going to take more than physical altercations to get the team going, though.
"We know what we got in this room," Rupp said. "I don't know if we have to do things to let them know."