Jacob Trouba sets the tone as New York Rangers even series with Carolina Hurricanes

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NEW YORK — When asked if there would be any carryover from Game 3 into Game 4 following heated postgame exchanges between the Rangers and Hurricanes, Jacob Trouba brushed the question aside.

"I don't think too many guys are too worried about it," he said prior to puck drop on Tuesday. "You guys (the media) make a big deal out of everything, so it doesn’t shock me."

Maybe so, but it sure looked like there was something extra behind a game-changing hit the bruising defenseman threw in the first period.

With a chance to square up Carolina forward Max Domi near center ice, Trouba unloaded a crushing blow that sent Madison Square Garden into a frenzy.

Was it merely a coincidence that Domi was at the center of the previous game's shenanigans?

Perhaps. Regardless of whether Trouba was trying to send a message, it was delivered.

Steven Lorentz charged him for a fight that further electrified MSG and earned him a 10-minute major. Frank Vatrano cashed in on the ensuing penalty, setting the course for the Rangers' most complete effort of the playoffs.

It was a tone-setting moment in their effort to even this second-round playoff series at two games apiece. They accomplished that with an emphatic 4-1 win in Game 4, making it a best-of-three moving forward.

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Carolina Hurricanes forward Max Domi is checked by New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba during the first period of Game 4.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Max Domi is checked by New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba during the first period of Game 4.

A complete performance

The Vatrano goal at the 13:31 mark set off a series of events that worked in the Rangers' favor.

A little more than two minutes later, Adam Fox scored his first goal of the series by tipping a wrist shot from Ryan Lindgren past Canes goalie Antti Raanta.

That sent the Blueshirts into the second period with a 2-0 lead, which they would eventually pad on a heads up play by Mika Zibanejad.

Raanta stopped a shot from Lindgren with 3:12 remaining in the period, but the rebound sat loose underneath him. Zibanejad swooped in to clean it up and get the ever-important third goal.

But while that made the score lopsided, the flow of the game was not. The Hurricanes continued to pressure and push for scoring chances, as is their reputation.

The difference is they don't have Igor Shesterkin.

The Rangers' netminder was excellent once again. It started on the first shot he saw, as he flew across the crease to close up what looked to be an open net for Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce. He made another "wow" save on Teuvo Teravainen early in the second period and frustrated the Canes on a handful of other occasions.

A third-period goal from Teravainen ended Shesterkin's chances of a shutout, but he has now stopped 117 of the 122 shots he has faced in this series for an .959 save percentage.

Finally, with 8:50 to play, Andrew Copp netted a security goal for his third point of the night.

Vincent Z. Mercogliano is the New York Rangers beat reporter for the USA TODAY Network. Follow him on Twitter @vzmercogliano.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NHL playoffs: Jacob Trouba crushes Max Domi; Rangers top Hurricanes