Rangers' Matt Rempe opens up on being benched for Game 1 against Panthers

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
Matt Rempe opens up after benched for Game 1

The New York Rangers found themselves on the losing end of a 3-0 shutout against the Florida Panthers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. In the aftermath, many have called for rookie Matt Rempe to draw back into the Rangers' lineup for Game 2.

Rempe, who has not played since May 13, said he would be ready if called upon.

"If that happens, I want to be buzzing. Anytime you get an opportunity, you want to make the most of it," Rempe said before Game 2. "This is awesome. Eastern Conference final. Come on. It's the best."

During the TNT broadcast on Thursday, hockey legends Wayne Gretzky and Henrik Lundqvist debated whether Rempe could provide a spark if inserted into the lineup.

Matt Rempe was humbled by the recognition.

"It's unbelievable. Those guys are legends. To be talked about by them is pretty damn cool," he said. "If I get an opportunity, I want to make most of it. I don't want to let anyone down."

Matt Rempe tallied one goal and one assist in the playoffs. He has been a healthy scratch since Filip Chytil returned to the Rangers lineup on May 13th.

Even with the pressure of potentially replacing a veteran in a crucial playoff game, the Rempe claimed he wasn't feeling any extra stress.

"I'm 21. I have no pressure," Rempe remarked. "I just want to do the most. If I know that I work my hardest, I can look myself behind and say I'm proud of myself."

The Rangers will look to even the series at 1-1 before it shifts to Florida.

Rangers Coach Peter Laviolette discusses Matt Rempe's Game 2 status

New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette remained vague on whether rookie Matt Rempe would return to the lineup for the crucial Game 2 against the Florida Panthers.

When asked if the opinions of media pundits and former players would influence his lineup decisions, Laviolette staunchly defended his process.

"Any decision that I make is based on the conversations that we have as a group internally here," Laviolette stated to ESPN. "I can't really make my decisions based on that."

ESPN analyst Mark Messier has backed Rempe's return on Wednesday, stating:

"Maybe they should think about putting Rempe in the lineup.”

The Game 2 can be watched on ESPN, ESPN+, SN, CBC, or TVAS. The game will also be broadcast on the radio via WQAM 560 AM and WEPN-FM (ESPN New York 98.7 FM). The puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST.

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