The New York Rangers got the kind of strong, all-around effort from the start they needed and stormed past the Carolina Hurricanes.
Andrew Copp had a goal and two assists, and Frank Vatrano and Adam Fox each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 4-1 in Game 4 Tuesday night, evening the second-round series.
Mika Zibanejad also scored, Ryan Lindgren had two assists and Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight at home in the post-season. In the series, New York won two at home after opening with two losses at Carolina.
“Everyone’s kind of contributing and has been over the course of the playoffs,” Copp said. “It’s not just one line, one D-pairing, it’s throughout the lineup. ... Just trying to build off some of the momentum we’ve created these last two games.”
The Rangers have won two straight against the Hurricanes after losing eight of the previous nine meetings, including a three-game sweep in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoff bubble and three of four in the regular season.
“We’re confident,” Copp said. “We get two games where we win, we play well, we give up two goals total. Now the reverse of the talk of you guys is on them now. We just got to kind of block all that out and stay with our game. Guys are feeling better about themselves and we got to ride this momentum into Carolina.”
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant liked what he saw from his team, calling it `close’ to one of the most complete games by his team this post-season.
“We had a little bit of a letdown in part of the second and little bit in the third, too,” he said. “But for the most part we did a real good job.”
Teuvo Teravainen scored and Antti Raanta finished with 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who fell to 0-5 on the road in the post-season to go along with their 6-0 mark at home.
Carolina has scored just six goals in the series, including one in each of the last two games. The Hurricanes were 0 for 2 on the power play to fall to 0 for 9 against the Rangers.
“I am confident eventually they are going to find their way to the back of the net,” Carolina’s Sebastian Aho said. “We just have to find ways to score. We got to score on the power play.”
Game 5 is in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday night, and Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Teravainen spoiled Shesterkin’s shutout bid when he scored his third of the playoffs at 6:33 of the third, pulling the Hurricanes within 3-1. However, Copp scored from the right side with just under nine minutes remaining.
There was more pushing and shoving between players in the closing seconds of the game, with the Rangers’ Ryan Reaves and Carolina’s Max Domi being separated by officials as they exchanged words.
Trailing 2-0, Carolina got its first power play midway through the second period, but couldn’t convert. About a minute into the Hurricanes’ advantage, the Rangers had a 2-on-1, short-handed chance but Raanta made a sprawling save on Zibanejad.
The Rangers pushed their lead to 3-0 with 3:12 left in the middle period as Lindgren fired a shot that Raanta stopped. However, as the puck trickled through his pads, Zibanejad swooped in behind him and knocked it in for his fifth of the playoffs.
Shesterkin made a spectacular glove save going from right to left on Brett Pesce 1:20 into the game on the Hurricanes’ first shot on goal, drawing a big roar from the home crowd that was buzzing even before the puck drop.
The Rangers were unhappy with a fight that broke out at the end of Game 3 on Sunday between Lindgren and Domi. New York coach Gerard Gallant was also seen yelling at Hurricanes defenceman Tony DeAngelo.
In this one, Rangers defenceman Jacob Trouba delivered a hard hit on Domi along the side boards as the Hurricanes forward was falling to the ice. Carolina’s Steven Lorentz skated into Trouba and the two dropped gloves with less than 8 1/2 minutes left in the first. Lorentz drew a 10-minute misconduct and a minor for instigating in addition to the fighting majors he and Trouba received.
Vatrano took advantage as he fired a one-timer off a pass from Copp past Raanta with 6:29 left. It was his third of the playoffs.
Fox made it 2-0 just 2:11 later as he deflected a shot by Lindgren from the top of the left circle past Raanta.
Minutes later, DeAngelo – the target of several derisive chants from Rangers fans in the opening period – and Reaves were separated as they were jawing at each other.
The Rangers’ five straight home playoff wins matched a franchise record accomplished four times previously. The last was during their Stanley Cup championship run in 1994.
Aho got his 26th career post-season assist, breaking a tie with Ron Francis for the most in franchise history. His 44th post-season point moved him past Eric Staal into sole possession of the top of the franchise scoring list. ... Teravainen got his 19th goal to move past Francis into sole possession of fifth place in franchise playoff history. His 42nd point tied Kevin Dineen for the fifth-most points in franchise playoff history.
per centThe Rangers were 1 for 4 on the power play and are now 2 for 11 in the series. They are converting 27 in the post-season. ... The Hurricanes finished 0 for 2 to fall to 0 for 9 in the series. They are at 11 per cent in the playoffs.