New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal joined NHL Live to discuss the team advancing to the Eastern Conference Final. The Rangers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Game 7 on Tuesday to win their second-round series 4-3 and complete a comeback from down 3-1.
"It's a great sense of accomplishment for our group, our team," Staal said.
Following a 4-2 loss in Game 4, the Rangers held a closed-door meeting, which planted the first seeds of their comeback.
"We didn't play very well," Staal said. "I don't think we were close to the level we're used to competing at. It's a terrible low feeling when you get in a hole like that knowing what's ahead of you. We just talked about playing our best game and knowing what our best game is; a couple of guys talked on their experience in coming back in those types of situations. It was almost a sense of calm after the meeting."
Staal helped hold Penguins captain Sidney Crosby to one goal and three points in the series, and pointless in five of the seven games.
"With him and even with [Evgeni] Malkin, it's something where if those guys get space or get comfortable, they're hard to stop," Staal said. "You need to be in their face and make sure that they know that the ice isn't for free. It was something that we tried to do as a team all series long, just suffocate them through the neutral zone when we could. You need your team to play a great defensive game to try to stop those type of players."