New York Rangers find way to win, trail series with Hurricanes 2-1

May 22, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers right wing Ryan Reaves (75) hugs New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin (31) while celebrating a 3-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in game three of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers cut the Carolina Hurricanes series lead in half following a 3-1 home win at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

With the New York Rangers sitting in a 2-0 series deficit heading into Sunday’s afternoons game, the Blueshirts needed to decide what team would show up to play the Carolina Hurricanes.

The hard-working, big hitting team was the club that showed up, in a must-win game, and defeated the Hurricanes 3-1.

The Hurricanes now lead the series 2-1 with game four on Tuesday night at MSG.

Gallant Changes lines to Start Game

Head coach Gerrard Gallant broke up the “Kids” line with the team struggling to find scoring, placing Filip Chytil with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider.  Alexis Lafreniere found himself playing with Ryan Strome and Artemi Panarin.

The line combinations that began the game looked like this;

Kreider-Zibanejad-Chytil
Panarin-Strome- Lafrenière
Vatrano-Copp-Kakko
Motte-Rooney-Reaves
Miller-Trouba
Lindgren-Fox
Braun-Schneider
Shesterkin
“I was flipping back and forth, honestly, with that,” Gallant said after the win. “I just wanted to get [Andrew Copp] in the middle, you know, stronger faceoff guy in the dot. He did pretty well, but we still got a lot of trouble at the faceoff dot tonight. But that was the thinking early on, and then I wanted to get back to my lines again after that.”
 Gallant went back to his regular top there lines for the start of the third period.  Regardless of what line combination the head coach out on the ice, his centers were atrocious on the face-off dot.
As a team, the Rangers won 41% of the faceoffs for the game. Ryan Strome (36%), and Kevin Rooney (0-10 at the dot), struggled all game to get possession of the puck.  Andrew Copp (56%) and Mika Zibanejad (53%) led the team at the circles.

Held on to the Lead

The Rangers took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal in the first period and recorded an assist on Chris Kreider’s second-period goal which was his sixth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Rangers.

Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves through the first two periods and finished with 43 saves on 44 shots. The lone goal he gave up was one he wants back.  Carolina’s Nono Niederreiter scored on a backhand shot that found its way through the Russian goalie and into the nest to cut the Ranger’s lead to 2-1withg under 12 minutes left in the second period.

Shesterkin recognized the importance of that play after the game when he took the time to thank the fans for their support even after that bad goal he let in.

“I’d honestly like to thank the fans for the energy they provided. They supported me even though I kind of let them down in that one spot. But the energy at MSG is always great, they’re always charged up and I can’t thank them more for that.”

The game ended with a scuffle on the ice after the Hurricane’s Max Domi cross-checked Ryan Lindgren as the horn sounded.

At the same time, Gallant found himself chirping with former Rangers defensemen Anthony DeAngelo from the bench. The head coach was not happy with how the game ended handmade sure the Hurricanes knew he had the club to handle any further scrums that may occur.

“I wasn’t happy with the bull[crap] at the end of the game that they initiated,” Gallant said. “We didn’t do that when the games were close. They want to put their guys on, that’s fine. If they want to play like that, we got the guys that can match that.  They’re not sending any message, we got the guy that can handle all their guys if we want to.”

Notes

  • The Blueshirts improved to 22-10-3 (19-8-3 in regular season, 3-2 in postseason) following a loss of any kind this season.
  • The Rangers went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, improving to 7-for-7 on the PK in this series. The Blueshirts have been perfect on the penalty kill in five of their last six games and in six of 10 playoff games.
  • When facing 40 or more shots in a game this season, Shesterkin is 7-1 (3-1 in postseason, 4-0 in regular season). Shesterkin became the fifth different Rangers goaltender since 1955-56 to record a 40-save win in the playoffs and the first since Henrik Lundqvist (42 in Game 6 of 2015 R2). Shesterkin’s 339 saves through 10 games in a playoff year is the most by a Rangers goaltender since 1955-56, besting Mike Richter’s mark of 329 saves through 10 games in 1997.
  • Chris Kreider scored his 30th career playoff goal and surpassed Mark Messier (29) for the second-most in Rangers history, trailing only Rod Gilbert (34). Kreider’s goal was his sixth of the playoffs and 58th of the season. Kreider also tied Ron Duguay for the ninth-most points (47) in Rangers playoff history. Kreider’s netted his third game-winning goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only three players in Rangers history have had more in a single postseason: Frank Boucher (4 in 1928), Brian Leetch (4 in 1994), and Mark Messier (4 in 1994). His nine career playoff game-winning goals are the most in franchise history.
  • Mika Zibanejad notched two points (1G-1A) in the win for his first points of the series. In his last five games, Zibanejad has nine points (4G-5A) and has 13 points total in 10 playoff games (4G-9A). In the NHL, Zibanejad ranks tied for fourth with 13 points in these playoffs. The last Ranger to have 13 or more points through 10 playoff games was Jaromir Jagr (15 in 2008).
  • Adam Fox recorded an assist for his 11th point (3G-8A) of the Playoffs. The only Rangers defensemen with more in a single postseason in the past 26 years are Ryan McDonagh (17 in 2014) and Dan Girardi (12 in 2012). Fox’s eight assists are tied for the ninth-most in a single playoff season by a Rangers defenseman.

Via NYR PR