RALEIGH, NC – Brendan Smith scored a free kick at the end of the second period, while Antti Raanta finished with 21 stops to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 2-0 on Friday night, taking a 2-0 lead in the his second-round playoff series.
Smith’s goal from a Sebastian Aho feed marked his first postseason goal in nine years, and it was the difference in a well-defended game by both teams with little room to operate and even fewer eyes without traffic to the net.
Aho added an empty net to end the 1.8-second lead while Raanta held on.
The Hurricanes had flirted with scoring a short-range goal early in the game several times, including one when Teuvo Teravainen pinged at the right post in the first period from space through an Aho feed. He ended up foreshadowing the Hurricanes’ big score, with Aho skating on the right side to prepare Smith for a time from the left that clearly outscored Igor Shesterkin for the entrance with 4:06 remaining for the second.
Carolina improved to 6-0 at home in the playoffs and has a 2-0 lead for the second straight round. They now face the challenge of winning on the road for the first time in the postseason after claiming a series of seven games in the first round against Boston in which neither team achieved a victory as a visitor.
They will have their first chance to win at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 on Sunday. And the Rangers will try to mount another comeback in the series after recovering from a 3-1 loss to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game first-round series.
Shesterkin finished with 20 stops to lead the Rangers on a night with few offensive highlights.
The teams combined for 43 shots and also had great penalties, with New York killing more than a minute of time from 5 to 3 while the Hurricanes scored their short-range goal in a 4-minute elimination for a minor double. Brady Skjei takes a penalty kick.
Carolina’s Rod Brind’Amour had to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines, after twisting his ankle with 40 minutes having been played.
Most notably, Teravainen rose to the front row to play alongside Aho and rookie Seth Jarvis, while Andrei Svechnikov moved to the second row. Brind’Amour also promoted fast skater Martin Necas to the second line and beat Max Domi, the hero of the seventh game against Boston with two goals, to the fourth line.
The Rangers remained with the same line-ups to start this one, although coach Gerard Gallant eventually moved Alexis Lafrenière to the second line alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome looking for a third-period spark.
Rangers defender Ryan Lindgren came out shortly after taking a record to the mouth area near the boards just beyond the midpoint of the first period. He was back on the bench, and shortly after the ice, at the end of the period.
Carolina Panthers runner Christian McCaffrey sounded the “storm warning” siren before the game for the Hurricanes to take the ice.
NFL quarterback Mike Glennon and WNBA player Kiara Leslie – both former North Carolina stars who played at college here in Raleigh – sounded in the first and second interludes, respectively.
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Smith, Raanta and Hurricanes lead the Rangers 2-0
Source link Smith, Raanta and Hurricanes lead the Rangers 2-0