NHL: Hurricanes’ 4-goal third period forces Game 6 vs. Rangers

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Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the tiebreaking goal with 13:21 remaining in the third period as the Carolina Hurricanes staved off elimination by scoring four times in the third to rally for a 4-1 victory over the host New York Rangers in Game 5 on Monday night.

The Rangers lead their Eastern Conference second-round series 3-2 with Game 6 on Thursday in Raleigh, N.C. If the Hurricanes can extend the series again, Game 7 will be on Saturday in New York.

Carolina got two goals in the first 6:39 of the third to improve to 1-5 when playing the Rangers in New York in the playoffs. The only other time the Hurricanes beat the Rangers in the postseason as the road team came in 2020, when the teams were playing in the bubble in Toronto.

Jordan Staal made a slick move for the tying goal 3:33 into the third, then Kuznetsov gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead by being in the right place at the right time.

“It just wasn’t the night that we were looking to have,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “It was more than the third period. It wasn’t a reflection of who we were for the majority of the year.”

After clearing the defensive zone, Kuznetsov sped down the left wing and moved the puck to Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Kotkaniemi made a cross-ice pass to Brady Skjei, whose shot from above the right circle was stopped by Igor Shesterkin.

Shesterkin was unable to cover the puck to create a faceoff and the rebound popped out to the slot, where Kuznetsov easily converted the rebound by getting around Artemi Panarin.

“I’m just so grateful to be part of (the comeback),” Kuznetsov said. “It’s kind of one of those when you’re going into the third period you realize that could be the last period of this year and you don’t want to have that feeling so grateful that we were able to come back and win the game.”

Jordan Martinook added an insurance goal 3:17 after Kuznetsov scored. Martin Necas finished it off by scoring into an empty net with 3:31 left.

After struggling in the first two games of the series, Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen made 20 saves for his second straight victory.

The Hurricanes have won back-to-back games after losing the first three games of the series.

Said center Martin Necas: “We believe. We believe in this locker room and game by game. We know a thing about winning two in a row, three in a row, four in a row but it’s about the next one.”

Captain Jacob Trouba scored a short-handed goal in the second period but the Rangers rarely generated consistent offense and struggled during their power plays. Both teams finished 0-for-3 on the power play.

Shesterkin stopped 24 shots.

At 6:23 of the second period, Trouba scored New York’s fourth short-handed goal of the postseason and his first career short-handed postseason tally by making a strong defensive play and finishing it off.

During a tripping penalty to Jack Roslovic, Trouba blocked a shot by Sebastian Aho in the left circle and gained possession. Upon gaining possession, Trouba easily sped down the left wing, faked a shot and, when Skjei did not defend, the New York captain released a shot from the left circle on a two-on-one that sailed over Andersen’s right shoulder.

Staal stunned the crowd by making a slick move around New York defenseman Braden Schneider to cut in front of the crease and then finished the sequence by putting a backhander by Shesterkin for the tying goal.

“That was vintage Jordan Staal there,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said of his captain. “Pretty impressive performance by him.”

After Kuznetsov’s goal, Martinook made it 3-1 by cashing on a New York turnover behind the net. Jack Drury made a pass from behind the net to Martinook, who ripped a shot from between the circles over Shesterkin.

–Field Level Media

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