NHL: Hurricanes keep season alive, edge Rangers in Game 4

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Brady Skjei’s power-play goal broke a tie late in the third period to lift the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday night, extending their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

With teammate Seth Jarvis screening New York goaltender Igor Shesterkin, Skjei broke a 3-3 deadlock at 16:49 of the third with a blast from the blue line. It was the Hurricanes’ first power-play goal of the series, ending an 0-for-16 drought.

“Yeah, it was huge,” Skjei said about Carolina ending its power-play slump. “I mean obviously we always believe in our team. Obviously we weren’t coming back (from trailing in the game), but we believe we can always come back in a game. Giving up that lead was tough but nice to finally get one on the power play. Obviously it was a huge goal at the time. Try to keep moving forward and move it into New York.”

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Stefan Noesen and Sebastian Aho also scored for the Hurricanes. Teuvo Teravainen finished with two assists.

Frederik Andersen made 22 saves for Carolina in his return to net after not starting Game 3.

Will Cuylle, Barclay Goodrow and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers, whose seven-game winning streak to start the playoffs was snapped. Shesterkin made 27 saves.

“We dug ourselves a hole early,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “I don’t think it was because we weren’t ready to play. … There wasn’t a lot but the (chances) that we gave up were pretty noisy. They were loud and we’ve got to come out a little bit sharper than that. We were competing, we were working, we were trying to do our job offensively but there’s some things defensively that I thought we could have been a little bit better (at) in the first period.”

The Rangers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1. Game 5 is Monday in New York.

The Hurricanes took a 1-0 lead at 1:51 of the first period. Kuznetsov intercepted a Goodrow clearing pass in the neutral zone and took it to the top of the left circle before firing a wrist shot that went bar down blocker side on Shesterkin.

Noesen put the hosts ahead 2-0 at 6:33. Shesterkin saved a Teravainen shot from the left wall, but the rebound bounced into the slot, and Noesen, fresh off the bench, was there to backhand it into the net.

Cuylle cut the Rangers’ deficit in half at 8:06. Kaapo Kakko spotted him behind the Hurricanes’ defense for a breakaway, and he beat Andersen with a snap shot glove side.

Aho scored for the first time since Game 3 of the first round to re-establish the two-goal lead at 15:29. Brent Burns rimmed a pass along the right wall to Jake Guentzel behind the net, and Guentzel sent a short feed to Aho at the left hashmarks, where Aho snapped it over Shesterkin’s glove.

“Yeah, it was a good period,” Aho said of the Hurricanes’ three-goal opening period. “Obviously we played with a lot of aggression, we were two goals up after that first so kind of keep with what we needed to do. That was a strong start. We want to do that again next game.”

Goodrow pulled New York within one at 12:43 of the second period. After a failed clearing attempt by the Hurricanes, Jimmy Vesey fed Braden Schneider at the point, and Schneider fired a shot that Goodrow tipped past Andersen.

Lafreniere tied things at 3-3 at 2:04 of the third. Mika Zibanejad sent a cross-ice pass from the left side to Lafreniere, who took it to the goal line before banking it off Andersen.

“That’s one thing I can appreciate with this group, is we just kind of all year, forever, we’ve been doing this,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said about Carolina’s response after the Rangers tied the score. “We always seem to be able to just focus on, whatever happens, good or bad, the next play. That’s basically what happened. I don’t know that we were great the rest of the way, but we certainly didn’t go the other way, which could have happened.”

–Field Level Media

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