RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes controlled much of the game, stayed aggressive and even made a breakthrough in a two-month power play battle.
It was enough for another playoff home win. Now they can also turn their attention to taking down the New York Rangers.
Vincent Trocheck buried a goal shorthanded, Teuvo Teravainen achieved a rare power play result and the Hurricanes defeated Rangers 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the second round.
It was part of another strong home performance from the Metropolitan Division champions, who improved to 7-0 at home in the postseason.
“It was the game I’ve been waiting for,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We played well, but tonight it was good all round – clearer how we want to play.”
Andrei Svechnikov also scored, defeating Igor Shesterkin with a backhander on a breakaway midway through the third period as the Hurricanes defended their Game 5 lead.
The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals to face reigning two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay by winning Game 6 in New York on Saturday despite being 5-0 away from PNC Arena so far despite being regulars fighting for the NHL lead -season road wins.
Now Carolina faces the challenge of eliminating a team that was resilient, even tenacious, despite coming from behind. The Rangers rebounded from a 3-1 hole to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game first-round streak, then lost the first two games to Carolina before even fighting back at home.
“The way I look at it, we’ve been playing a lot of must-win games lately and we’ve done a pretty good job,” said New York’s Ryan Strome, who canceled out a goal in the second period by a successful offside had challenge from carolina.
“We played desperate hockey. … We seem to like that position a little bit.”
The Hurricanes maintained their aggressive style but gave the Rangers little leeway, finishing with a 34-17 shooting advantage to keep the pressure on Shesterkin while relieving Antti Raanta (16 saves) in the Carolina net.
Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal for New York, winning a first-half faceoff and then drifting to the left flank to take the lead just six seconds ahead of the man. Shesterkin – a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for Best Goalkeeper in the League and the Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player – ended with 31 saves against a steady stream of work.
Carolina has only been 9 of 89 (10.1%) on the power play since late March. But after a 0-9 start to the series, the Hurricanes finally broke through with a quick and crisp puck action.
Rookie Seth Jarvis – who briefly left with his mouth bleeding in the second second after being hit on a shot by Strome’s follow-through – sent the puck to Teravainen for the left side to beat Shesterkin at 9:47 of the second for the 2 -1 lead. It was Carolina’s first man-advantage goal since the closing minutes of Game 6 in their first-round win over Boston.
“We just talked after the last game,” said Teravainen. “Just reset and start over, and we just don’t have to think too much (of what’s behind) but keep thinking about what’s going forward.”
Carolina’s first goal also came from special teams, although that came from a perfectly executed undermanaged rush after a turnover.
Jordan Staal carried the puck down the left until Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller tried to stop a pass, but Staal lifted the puck off the ice and over Miller’s legs for a rushing trocheck down the right for a 1-0 lead at 12: 57 from the first.
“The pass Jordan made was amazing,” Trocheck said.
Carolina, who scored a goal shorthanded by defenseman Brendan Smith in the Game 2 win, has two shorthanded goals in the same postseason streak for the first time since 1992.
Strome appeared to have given Rangers a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the second minute as he collected his own entry pass on the boards and defeated Raanta. But on review, linemate Andrew Copp was clearly above the blue line as he attempted to tag again.
“It definitely sucks, but that’s the way it goes,” Strome said. “That’s a rule. It’s cut and dry. It happens.”
Carolina’s seven-game home win streak is the longest in a postseason since Chicago won its first seven games in 2014, a streak that ended in the Conference Finals.
Retired American soccer star Clint Dempsey sounded the “Storm Warning” siren before the game for the Hurricanes to take over the ice.
NASCAR driver Harrison Burton sounded the siren on the first break, followed by North Carolina State soccer coach Dave Doeren – whose wolfpack plays across from the PNC Arena parking lot at Carter Finley Stadium – on the second break.
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