Hurricanes surge past Rangers in the third period, force Game 6 in Raleigh with 4-1 win

The Carolina Hurricanes will have another hockey tomorrow.

Trailing the New York Rangers by a goal entering the final period of Game 5, being shut down by Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin, the Hurricanes ignited for four goals in the third for a 4-1 victory.

After losing the first three games of the second-round series, taken to the brink of elimination, the Canes now have won the last two and forced a Game 6. That game will be played Thursday at PNC Arena in Raleigh.

Jordan Staal tied the score 1-1 early in the third for the Canes, and Evgeny Kuznetsov made it 2-1. When Jordan Martinook scored from the low slot, it was 3-1 with 10:04 left in regulation.

Just like that, the Madison Square Garden crowd, so lively much of the night, sat in stunned silence.

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette pulled Shesterkin early for an extra attacker but Martin Necas swept the puck the length of the ice for an empty-net goal for a 4-1 lead.

Canes goalie Frederik Andersen, given the start in Game 5, allowed a shorthanded goal to Jacob Trouba in the second period but that was that.

Staal’s goal, on a strong move to the net, came when the Canes captain beat Shesterkin by going forehand to backhand at 3:33 of the third.

Kuznetsov then scored on a rebound at 6:39 of the third, breaking into his birdman celebration. His goal also made up for a careless slashing penalty late in the first period.

Martinook ripped a shot from the slot through some traffic as Shesterkin could not track the puck.

Jacob Trouba’s shorthanded goal in the second period pushed the Rangers into a 1-0 lead in Game 5 as New York sought to close out the second-round series.

After blocking a Sebastian Aho shot on the Canes’ first power play of the game, Trouba grabbed the puck and was off on a two-on-one in transition. The Rangers captain beat goalie Frederik Andersen to the blocker side at 6:23 for the Rangers’ second shorthanded score of the series.

The Canes had a second power play soon after their first as Adam Fox was called for holding, but the Rangers’ penalty killers again outworked the Canes and made it look easy.

First period scoreless

Both Andersen and the Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin were tested in the opening period. Neither allowed a goal, although both teams had their chances -- the Canes had 10 shots and the Rangers nine, forcing the Canes’ Andersen and Shesterkin to be quick, sharp.

Andersen’s best stop might have been on a tip by the Rangers’ Chris Kreider, always dangerous on redirections around the crease. Shesterkin’s best save came on a breakaway by the Canes’ Jake Guentzel, although he also made a good stop on a Jordan Staal tip off the rush 16 seconds into the game.

The first period was played at even strength until 1:55 was left and the Canes’ Evgeny Kuznetsov called for slashing, The period ended with five seconds left on the Rangers’ power play, the Canes’ Teuvo Teravainen teaming with Sebastian Aho for a shorthanded chance.

Andersen the pick

Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour again was coy Monday when asked about the starter. Andersen was in the “starter’s crease” in the morning skate at Madison Square Garden. Andersen also was the first goaltender off the ice.

But Brind’Amour went no further than to say “maybe” when asked if Andersen would start.

When the teams came out for the pregame warmup, Andersen led out the Canes. He started Game 4 in Raleigh, stopping 22 of 25 shots and was the winner as the Canes, trailing 0-3 in the series, took a 4-3 victory in the elimination game.

The Hurricanes held a rare morning skate at the Garden on Monday, although only for 15 or so minutes, just enough to limber up and work up a sweat. Andersen, who started Game 4 in Raleigh, was the winner as the Canes took a 4-3 victory.

The Canes know the situation: lose Game 5 and the season’s over. They don’t want the season to be over.

“We’re battling for our lives here,” Canes captain Jordan Staal said Monday. “Our expectation hasn’t changed. We’ve always wanted to finish on top. We’ve got a big hole obviously in front of us. We have a capable team that we believe in. We’ve got to find a way to win one tonight and go from there.”

The Canes lost all three games to the Rangers in New York in the 2022 playoffs. They lost the first two of this Eastern Conference semifinal series at the Garden.

But they won Game 4 in Raleigh to stay alive. They won it with a power-play goal, their first of the series. They scored four times on goalie Igor Shesterkin. All that could carry over into Game 5. At least, that’s the plan for the Canes.

“It’s always nice to get four on a good goalie,” Staal said. “We’ve got to try and find a way to do it again and create as much offense as we can against a good goalie.”

The Canes did not make any changes to their lines or defensive pairs in the morning skate.

Feb 22, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho (20) is congratulated by defenseman <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Brett Pesce;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Brett Pesce</a> (22) after his goal against the <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Florida Panthers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Florida Panthers</a> during the third period at PNC Arena. James Guillory/James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Injury update

Canes defenseman Brett Pesce was not with the Canes for the morning skate. Pesce, recovering from a lower-body injury from the Islanders series, did some skating Sunday in Raleigh. ...

Rangers coach Peter Laviolette did not say Monday if forward Filip Chytil would be able to play in Game 5. Chytil, who had been out since November with concussion issues, returned to the lineup in Game 3 in Raleigh but was a scratch in Game 4 when Laviolette said Chytil did not feel well.

Chytil did practice with the Rangers on Monday, which Laviolette called a “positive.”

Another positive for New York was having forward Blake Wheeler out of a no-contact jersey for the first time, although he will not play in Game 5.. Wheeler suffered a lower-body injury against Montreal in February.

Need a good start

Coaches and players always talk about “starting on time” and that could be even more important in Game 5 at the Garden, Canes defenseman Brady Skjei said Monday.

“I think the start is going to be huge,” Skjei said. “We know they’re going to come out flying.

“We’ll have the same mindset we had in the last game, win or go home, so we need to come out with that same energy and focus. And hopefully continue it for the whole 60 minutes.”

Another priority: keeping penalties to a minimum. The Canes had just one in Game 4 and killed it off, and were 4-for-4 on the kill in Game 3, albeit in a 3-2 loss where they allowed a shorthanded goal.

“Those are crucial times of the game for both teams,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s kind of the series. It keeps getting boiled down to that because these two teams are pretty evenly matched.”