Former Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck scores in second OT, lifts Rangers to Game 2 win

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play 7:23 into the second overtime to give the New York Rangers a 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, who took a 2-0 lead in the series as it heads to Raleigh for Game 3 on Thursday.

The Hurricanes were battling history at that point: Going into the second OT, they were 0-3 all-time in playoff games in which they recorded 50 or more shots (the Hurricanes had a 52-37 shot advantage after the first OT) and 1-6 in multiple OT playoff games since relocation.

Both teams had their chances in the first overtime period, with Frederik Andersen stopping Mika Zibanejad late in the period after the Hurricanes failed to score on a power play midway through overtime.

Jake Guentzel scored twice, Andrei Svechnikov bounced back from a bad early penalty and Sebastian Aho assisted on all three Carolina goals in regulation before Chris Kreider’s power-play goal midway through the third erased a one-goal Carolina lead and left the outcome up in the air in the final minutes.

Guentzel’s second was pure skill, with Aho shrugging off hits in the corner before feeding a cutting Guentzel in the slot for a snap shot with a borderline no-look pass late in the second.

Dmitry Orlov’s tip of a Brady Skjei shot late in the first period gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead at the first intermission after Alexis Lafreniere got the Rangers on the board early when a K’Andre Miller shot hit Jesperi Kotkaniemi in front and bounced to Lafreniere at the left circle. Lafreniere beat Andersen high to the short side.

The Hurricanes evened things up with Guentzel’s first non-empty-net goal of the playoffs, tipping an Aho shot between his legs and past Igor Shesterkin. Svechnikov set it up with a strong move from behind the net to atone for his earlier penalty tripping Shesterkin behind the net.

The Hurricanes killed that one, their first successful penalty-kill of the series, with Andersen making a point-blank glove save on Zibanejad.

In the final minute of the period, with the teams skating four-on-four, Orlov got his second of the playoffs by deflecting Skjei’s shot as he lost Adam Fox and cut to the net with 5.4 seconds left in the period and the Hurricanes’ first lead of the series.

Lafreniere got his second of the game midway through the second to even the score, putting home an Adam Fox feed on the rush. Things got chippy after that, with Guentzel shrugging off a punch from Fox in a scrum and landing a straight shot to the chops that dropped Fox in a heap. The officials caught Guentzel, nullifying a Carolina power play.

Comtois in, Kuznetsov out

Maxime Comtois took a few shifts with the Hurricanes’ fourth line at practice on Monday, a minor development that was a harbinger of a major change Tuesday.

Comtois replaced Evgeny Kuznetsov in the lineup for Game 2, with Kotkaniemi sliding over to center with Stefan Noesen on that line.

Comtois played one game for the Hurricanes this season, recording an assist in the 82nd regular-season game at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Kuznetsov, one of the Hurricanes’ two big trade deadline acquisitions, had four points in the Hurricanes’ first six playoff games, including the opening goal of the postseason against the New York Islanders. He also took a retaliation penalty in Game 1 that led to one of the Rangers’ two power-play goals.

Asked before the game Tuesday if there were any changes to the lineup, Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said, “Nope. I don’t think so.” Officially, Kuznetsov was listed as a healthy scratch.

Andersen remained in goal to start his seventh straight game.

Penalty-kill remains confident

Skjei knows the Rangers’ core personnel as well as anyone, having spent parts of five seasons with Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Chris Krieder before coming to the Hurricanes (and Vincent Trocheck after that). In that respect, what he saw from the Rangers’ power play in Game 1 was about what he and the Hurricanes expected.

So after the Rangers converted their only two power-play opportunities in a total of 23 seconds, the key factor in a 4-3 loss to open this second-round series, surely adjustments are needed from the Hurricanes ahead of Game 2?

“I don’t think we need to really change what we’ve done all year,” Skjei said. “We’ve been pretty successful. Look at those goals, it’s just a string of four good plays in a row. Panarin makes a nice play to ‘Troch’ in the middle and then ‘Troch’ makes a nice play and then ‘Krieds’ throws it back door.

“Those are ones, honestly, you tip your cap and say, ‘Well done.’ I don’t think we really need to adjust too much. Just be aware of different plays they want to make and keep playing the way our penalty-kill has played all year, which has been very successful.”

On a night when the Hurricanes’ power play failed to score on four full chances and one very abbreviated one, the difference stood out. But the Hurricanes remained happy with their overall play in Game 1, especially in the second and third periods, and don’t plan big changes while shorthanded after posting the NHL’s best penalty-kill in the regular season.

“At the end of the day, they made three high-end plays,” Brind’Amour said. “Generally, you tip your hat. We know that’s exactly what they were trying to do, but we also know that too, and we were a tad late. You tip your hat. From start to finish there were some high-end passes in there. That’s what they’re capable of doing.”

Staal honored by Selke nod

Because it was announced on the day of the opening game of a playoff series between teams with two of the best three records in the NHL, Jordan Staal’s long wait between appearances as a finalist for the Selke Trophy went a bit overlooked.

Then again, so has Staal’s candidacy for the award that goes to the NHL’s best defensive forward over the past 14 years. A finalist in 2010 with the Pittsburgh Penguins and again this season with the Hurricanes, Staal said the lack of recognition over the intervening decade was not a source of frustration.

“No, because I know how I’m counted on here in Carolina,” Staal said. “The rest of it, it is what it is. Obviously it’s nice to be recognized but I knew who I was and what I was while I’ve been here in Carolina. Everybody in the organization saw what I did, day in and day out, and that’s all I really needed.”

Perhaps no one has benefited from watching Staal play more than Seth Jarvis, who has occupied the injured Jesper Fast’s spot to Staal’s right for almost all of this postseason. Jarvis, in his third NHL season, has blossomed as a two-way player in part because of Staal’s example, even though he’s nowhere near as big and strong as Staal is.

“Obviously being that size helps. It’s always an advantage,” Jarvis said. “But I think probably more than 50 percent of it is the way he approaches it. When you’re young, you can kind of get caught up in wanting to get all these points, which obviously you want to do as an offensive player, that’s the goal, but it’s finding enjoyment in playing the defensive game.”

There may have been no better example of that than Game 3 of the first-round series against the New York Islanders, when Staal’s line spent the entire game hemming the Islanders in their own end, even with no production to show for it. That line may not have gotten a lot of great scoring chances, but the line that came on the ice afterward seemed to get a chance every time as the Islanders wore down under the relentless pressure.

It was a textbook road playoff game from that line, which is why Jarvis was moved there in Game 1 of that series and has remained there ever since, with stunning results: Zibanejad’s opening goal Sunday was the first five-on-five goal Staal’s line has allowed in six playoff games. Moving Jarvis back to Sebastian Aho’s line might give him more offensive opportunities, but his 200-foot game is a better fit with Staal than Svechnikov’s. Flipping them back would weaken the Staal line without improving the Aho line.

“No one wants to play against that,” Jarvis said. “It’s not fun to play against. When we can do that, it gives (Martin Necas’) line and Aho’s line all the chances to succeed.”

‘Those go in, you never know’

Andrei Svechnikov wasn’t thrilled with the tripping call against him late in Game 1 that turned a six-on-four Hurricanes advantage back into a six-on-five with Andersen on the bench as the Hurricanes pushed to tie the score. It came only six seconds after the Rangers were penalized for putting the puck over the glass and felt like a make-up call.

But after watching the video, Svechnikov made his peace and accepted responsibility.

“At first, it seemed like too soft, you know, 40 seconds left?” Svechnikov said. “But I watched the replay and my stick was there. He didn’t step on my stick, but he touched it. Nothing I can do there. Just win the battle. Six on five, I’ve got to win the battle there.”

Svechnikov, who has only one goal in the playoffs despite being one of the Hurricanes’ most effective players, had chances to score on the power play and just before the penalty. He too could take satisfaction in the Hurricanes’ overall game, but was frustrated at the failure to convert.

“Those go in, you never know,” Svechnikov said. “Someone told me we were in their zone for 19 minutes and they were in our zone for only nine minutes. But it’s all excuses, you know? We’ve got to win the game. I felt we were better than them and played a good game, we’ve just got to score more goals than those guys.”

Good memories, but...

The Hurricanes used the visiting locker room at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., for their practice at the New Jersey Devils’ practice rink on Monday. The Hurricanes went 1-1 in that building in last year’s second round on their way to a five-game elimination of the Devils, but for Brind’Amour the memories run even deeper.

It’s the same room where he sat as captain after the Hurricanes completed their historic Game 7 comeback against the Devils in 2009, when the Hurricanes scored two goals in the final 80 seconds to turn elimination into advancement.

(That was one of seven times in NHL history a team has scored game-tying and game-winning goals in the final three minutes of a playoff game; Game 2 against the Islanders last month was one of the six others.)

“Obviously, we’ve had some success here,” Brind’Amour said, then laughed. “But that doesn’t really help us much.”


The NHL announced a 7 p.m. start for Game 4 at PNC Arena on Saturday. … The Hurricanes signed a pair of defensemen to entry-level deals as they continue to stock their renewed AHL affiliate in Chicago. Charles-Alexis Legault, a fifth-round draft pick in 2023, was signed Monday. Legault is 6-foot-3 and was an NCAA-best plus-36 as a sophomore at Quinnipiac last season. On Tuesday, they added Joel Nystrom, a seventh-round pick in 2021 who spent the past three seasons in Sweden’s pro league. … Going into Game 2, Andersen is 3-0-0 after a loss this regular season and postseason with a 1.34 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout.