• New York Rangers strike early and are level with the Carolina Hurricanes.
• The Hurricanes can’t win a game away from home.
• The Edmonton Oilers are fully in control of their run against the Calgary Flames
Game 4: New York Rangers 4, Carolina Hurricanes 1 (Series tie 2-2)
Jacob Trouba scored another massive hit, Frank Vatrano scored a power play goal after the madness that followed, and Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots to help the New York Rangers at two games apiece, their second-round streak with the Carolina Hurricanes to balance. Though the first two games were mostly close on the scoreboard, Rangers looked like a team that would have a hard time keeping up with Carolina in this series. But just like in the first round, Rangers managed to crawl back when they looked beaten and even tied in the series.
The big problem for Carolina is an inability to win a game away from home.
The Hurricanes are now 0-5 away from Raleigh and 6-0 on home ice this postseason. That makes home field advantage pretty significant, but at some point they have to win a game or two away.
Game 4: Edmonton Oilers 5, Calgary Flames 3 (EDM leads series 3-1)
The Edmonton Oilers may have their weaknesses, but they have the best player on the ice every night and that will always give them a chance. And now they’re just one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals thanks to their 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Evander Kane both scored twice while Connor McDavid had two more assists to extend his lead in the playoff race. Edmonton went out to an early 3-0 lead, watched it slip away, and then finally jumped back into the lead in the third period.
You have to give the Oilers a lot of credit here because Calgary’s decisive goal in the third period was, well, just watch….
Just two minutes later, Nugent-Hopkins put the Oilers back in front for good.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]
Three stars in the NHL playoffs (Game 4 by Hurricanes-Rangers and Flames-Oilers)
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Nugent-Hopkins has got to be an X factor for the Oilers. They know McDavid and Leon will be producing Draisaitl, but the insult has to come from someone other than them. Another of their top draft picks of the past decade, Nugent-Hopkins has the ability to change the game. On Tuesday he was. Nugent-Hopkins scored twice, including the deciding third-half goal just minutes after the Flames leveled the game, and finished with five shots on goal in the win.
2. Andrew Copp, New York Rangers
Rangers’ trade-deadline acquisitions paid off in large measure on Tuesday. Frank Vatrano opened the scoring with a power play goal while Copp came to victory with a goal and two assists. Both players were signed before the trade deadline to improve Rangers’ scoring depth and they are making a difference in the playoffs. Copp had a career-best performance in the regular season and now has 10 points in Rangers’ first 11 playoff games after his three-point game on Tuesday. Add his defensive skills and he was a great two-way player.
3. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers
His totals this postseason may not quite match his regular season numbers, but he has transformed Rangers behind what was at times a very holey defense. He’s been great in the last two games in New York to even help Rangers in the series and if he starts to play a role it’ll be a significant problem for Carolina. It could even set the stage for an epic goalie duel in a possible Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning (if Rangers can win two more games against Carolina).
NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY
Game 4: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (COL leads series 3-1), 8 p.m. ET – TNT
2022 Stanley Cup Preview by PHT
• Avalanche vs Blues
• Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe PM after the first round
• Predictions for the second round of the NHL
• Storylines for the second round of the NHL