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Igor Shesterkin gets 2nd consecutive shutout as Rangers beat Hurricanes 1-0

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for his second consecutive shutout, and the New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0 on Tuesday night in a matchup of the top teams in the Metropolitan Division.

Adam Fox scored late in the first period, and that goal held up through Carolina using an extra skater for the final two minutes.

The pressure for Shesterkin came in several forms, including playing on his mother’s birthday.

“I couldn’t play a bad game,” he said.

Carolina goalie Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 23 shots, but the Hurricanes’ three-game winning streak ended in their final regular-season meeting with the Rangers, who have a six-point lead with 17 games remaining. New York won the season series 2-1.

“They were awesome tonight,” Ranges coach Peter Laviolette said of his team, which played on back-to-back nights. “Traveling here and playing a team that’s playing as well as they are.”

New York has won 13 of its last 16 games, but the showdown with a division contender brought extra meaning to this matchup.

“It’s added motivation, I guess,” Rangers forward Vincent Trocheck said. “At the end of the day, these are teams you’re going to have to beat.”

The Hurricanes were shut out for the second time this season and the first time since Oct. 24 at Tampa Bay. It came two nights after Carolina scored a season high in goals in a 7-2 rout of Calgary.

“We didn’t generate probably enough to put the heat on them,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

Shesterkin blanked St. Louis on 26 shots Saturday and now has three shutouts this season. The intensity throughout the game was a plus for Shesterkin.

“I think it’s more easy for me because you concentrate (more) on the puck,” he said.

Forward Jake Guentzel made his Hurricanes debut less than a week after he was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh, recording one shot on goal in a little more than 15 minutes.

“I just felt all right,” Guentzel said. “It’s a fast game. (My new) team plays fast. You got to make sure you have your top speed at all times.”

Guentzel, who had 52 points (22 goals, 30 assists) in 50 games with the Penguins this season, had been out since Feb. 14 because of an upper-body injury.

Fox’s 11th goal of the season came with eight seconds left in the first period when the puck deflected off the skate of Carolina defenseman Brady Skjei and slid under Kochetkov. Chris Kreider and Ryan Lindgren had the assists.

“I thought we battled hard and it was a good win for us,” Fox said. “When you get that first goal, it’s a little easier to do those things.”

Carolina had 12 shots in the final period.

“We hunkered down and played some good defense,” Laviolette said.

The Rangers were without center Matt Rempe, who started a four-game suspension announced before the game. The punishment stemmed from an elbow to the head of New Jersey’s Jonas Siegenthaler on Monday.

UP NEXT

Rangers: At Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

Hurricanes: Florida at home Thursday night..

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl