NHL: Rangers look to rebound, brush aside Hurricanes

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The New York Rangers played their worst period of the postseason and the Carolina Hurricanes finally scored on the power play after three-plus games of futility.

Those were the primary themes of Game 4 and a reason why the competitive Eastern Conference semifinal series will shift to New York for Game 5 on Monday night.

The Rangers hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and are hoping to avoid a return trip to Raleigh, N.C., for Game 6 on Thursday.

New York extended its postseason winning streak to seven games with three one-goal victories to begin this series. The Rangers never held the lead on Saturday and Carolina kept the series alive with a 4-3 victory.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Stefan Noesen and Sebastian Aho scored in the first period for Carolina, which held a 2-1 lead after the first period through Game 2 before losing in double overtime. The Hurricanes lost a 3-1 advantage after the opening 20 minutes on Saturday and did not get the fourth goal until former New York defenseman Brady Skjei beat Igor Shesterkin on the power play with 3:11 left in the third period following a tripping penalty to Ryan Lindgren.

Skjei’s goal occurred after the Hurricanes went scoreless on one-man advantages in the second period and their first 16 power plays of the series.

“You are going to go through those stretches, but you don’t want to give up chances,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour, who moved Skjei to the Hurricanes’ top power-play unit. “That’s the real dagger. Tonight, I thought we had a couple of good looks again and just real lucky to get one in.”

The goal occurred after the Rangers inched back from a 3-1 deficit by getting a tip-in goal from Barclay Goodrow and a fluky tally by Alexis Lafreniere. Lafreniere scored the tying goal 2:04 into the third by banking a shot off the pad of Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen from slightly behind the net.

“I think you would have loved to be able to win this game here and move on,” Rangers defenseman Adam Fox said. “But you know they’re not going to go down too easy. So we regroup, obviously learn from some of the mistakes, and try and get that win on home ice.”

The Hurricanes avoided being swept for the second straight postseason and turned back to Andersen after Pyotr Kochetkov started Game 3 and allowed Artemi Panarin’s game-winning goal 1:43 into overtime on Thursday. It is possible Andersen could start again Monday, but any decision would likely be made after the morning skate for Game 5.

Andersen allowed eight goals on 62 shots in Games 1 and 2 in New York.

The Rangers also had their least effective game with their power play and their quietest games from their stars. New York went 0-for-5 with the man advantage in the past two games after scoring on 4 of 9 power-play opportunities in the first two games.

Mika Zibanejad notched an assist on Lafreniere’s goal to extend his points streak to eight games.

Panarin took one shot on goal and was on the ice for Carolina’s first three goals while Chris Kreider was stopped three times by Andersen.

“This is how it goes,” Zibanejad said after New York’s first loss since April 11. “We’re playing a really good team and it’s easy to forget about it the way it’s been going, before the game being up 3-0. We just have to reset here and get ready for Monday.”

–Field Level Media

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