There was no question on Monday night as to whether the Rangers could play the elimination game or win the 7th game of high stakes; Was it whether they were able to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes away from Madison Square Garden.
The answer is yes, they can. The Rangers’ rather magical NHL playoff race, for the first time since 2015, took them to the Eastern Conference Finals, where, as then, they will play Tampa Bay Lightning.
New York City won the North Carolina Tour for the first time in the series, defeating the Hurricanes 6-2, and winning four games in the Eastern Conference semifinals over three.
The Hurricanes went 7-0 at home in this playoffs. The PNC Arena is not exciting at the Raleigh, and Carolina coach Rod Brind Amur effectively used the last change of line given to the home side after the suspension to win the match he wanted with Rangers’ main line, center Mika Zibanejad and Garemar. Craider and Frank Watrano.
This did not work out as Craider scored two goals, including a powerful, third-period beauty who lost to the Rangers 4-0 and a desperate hurricane hung its heads on a bench.
“We are a young group and we have a lot of faith in each other,” Ranger Adam Fox said in a televised interview after the game. “Maybe we are a little naive. We do not want our season to end. We just enter with this mentality and it works for us. “
The Rangers were 5-2 on Saturday night and it looks like they put that atmosphere into the 7th game in the South. For the hurricanes, everything that could have gone wrong was done.
The Rangers started quickly and dominated the first period, scoring their first goal after Sebastian Aho’s penalty kick threw them into a power play. Fox, a talented defender with a Rangers attack, jumped to change the line in the final seconds of Power play and took a pass from Alex LaFrenier to throw in an anti-Ranta glove and bring the Rangers 1-0. Bullet.
Rangers defender Jacob Truba was then called up for a high penalty kick, which gave Carolina a chance to equalize the score, but the Hurricanes only managed one shot into the net.
Achieving the first goal was key in this series. The only change in leadership came in the opening game when Carolina returned to win 2-1 in overtime. There would be no lead change tonight.
Trumpet, elbow raised, Rushed to Seth JarvisCarolina’s top forward, in a play that looked like a trumpet hit, which left Penguin star Sidney Crosby in Game 5 of the previous series. Jarvis had to swim to a chair. He left the game with an upper body injury and never returned.
As a result, Carolina was called too many men on the ice, and the Rangers struck again in the power play, eight minutes later when Craider’s shot blocked Zibanejad’s seventh goal in the playoffs.
Carolina immediately went on the attack to try to get back in the game, but Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers goalkeeper and Vezina’s trophy favorite, was flawless, enduring the second strong game of the storm.
The Rangers, who have the second youngest list in the playoffs, may have exceeded the expectations of outsiders, but not them. Their lack of playoff experience is not a problem and their self-confidence has increased game after game.
In Saturday’s 6th game, the Rangers scored five goals with just 25 shots, followed by Raanta from the net after he conceded three goals. Carolina blew up Shesterkin with 39 shots, but she conceded just two goals and allowed her teammates to seize the lead 3-0 before Carolina scored.
Monday night was more the same – score a few, take the lead and allow Shesterkin, who was stellar after being ousted after a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 4, to retain the castle. And that was the similarity with the 5th game against Pittsburgh, when Crosby was injured by a blow to the trumpet, and then the Rangers won the game.
But the Hurricanes’ problems were deeper than the loss of Jarvis. They took three penalties and conceded two goals in Power Play and failed to score with four power-play opportunities. Carolina’s whole hope seemed to be lost when Raanta received an injury during a save and was forced to leave the game. Piotr Kochetkov, Raanta’s second-half line-up, which was Frederic Andersen’s reserve until the April injury, quickly conceded another goal for the Rangers.
Ryan Strom scored just four minutes before the end of the second period, flew to the left flank and defeated Kochetkov between his blocker and pillow to make it 3-0. Craider, who overtook Carolina defender Jacob Slavin, added the fourth goal and the second goal of the night at the beginning of the third period.
Forty seconds after Tony de Angelo scored the goal and put Carolina on the board to stay longer than 10 minutes, Rangers center Philippe Chitill shattered the hope of a comeback with a wrist strike that beat Kochetkov between the legs. Max Domi defeated Shesterkin at the end of the third match, then Rangers winger Andrew Cope added an empty ball and made the game inaccessible.
Most of the pressure for the Rangers was on Shesterkin, who also has three assists in the playoffs (one behind the NHL record). The Hurricanes shot him 28 times in the first two periods.
Four years ago, the Rangers front office asked fans to be patient while it was making the list. The club traded veterans and bought contracts. He made a clever outline. He brought in new coaches and new office staff. He resigned as major free agents and extended contracts and cleverly used the trading term.
Players like Zibanejad, Craider, Shesterkin and Artem Panarin had the best seasons of their careers under Gerard Gallant, who took the Vegas Gold Knights to the Stanley Cup final in the 2018 inaugural season.
After losing to Pittsburgh in the 4th match, Gallant called his team “soft”. Since then they are nothing more.
The Rangers, who missed the previous four seasons in the playoffs, won 52 games and finished with 110 points, their best season since 2014-15, when they lost seven games to Lightning in the conference finals.
Now for the Rangers, starting Wednesday in the Garden, all the way back to Tampa, Florida, and it will not be an easy journey. Lightning has won the last two Stanley Cups. It took them seven games to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the Florida Panthers, their rivals and winner of the Presidential Cup, took it.
Andrei Vasilevsky, their goalkeeper, who was almost inaccessible during the playoffs, can easily throw ice from Shesterkin.
But now the Rangers playoff race continues. And Carolina Arena is finally quiet.