Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers meet in Game 7 on the trip to the Conference Finals

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes have home field court advantage with the unblemished record when they play in front of their rowdy home crowd. The New York Rangers have shown resilience with a perfect mark in elimination games.

They both draw on those experiences in another Game 7 on Monday night, the second winner take-all matchup for both of these Stanley Cup playoffs. The winner advances to the Eastern Conference Finals and meets two-time reigning cup winners Tampa Bay.

“We feel like we have a recipe for success, but they probably have, too,” Rangers forward Andrew Copp said on Sunday, adding: “It’s just going to be about who can come closest to a perfect game tomorrow.”

The Hurricanes ousted the Rangers for the Metropolitan Division title in a race that lasted until the final week of the regular season. That, along with the NHL’s third-best record, secured a second round of home field advantage at PNC Arena — where they start the postseason 7-0 in the longest streak by a team since 2014.

This proved crucial in surviving a first-round series against a Boston team that knocked the Canes out of the playoffs twice in the last three seasons, with Carolina winning a home game 7 after losing all three away games.

The Hurricanes are back in that position, holding serve at home but losing all three away games to Rangers.

“I think we’re getting a little too busy with this home-away game,” said Carolina center Vincent Trocheck. “I mean, it’s a hockey game. When you go on the ice you don’t really focus on whether you’re going back to your own bed after the game or whether you’re going to a hotel.”

Carolina can improve to 7-0 in Game 7 since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997.

Rangers are undeterred by the challenge, despite having just one win in six away playoff games. New York bounced back from a 3-1 first-round deficit against Pittsburgh, including an away win in Game 6, and advanced with a home win in Game 7.

Rangers bounced back from a 2-0 deficit in that game and forced Game 7 after winning their fourth straight elimination game this postseason with Game 6 on Saturday night.

“I just think from day one we talked about getting up when you’re down,” said Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. “We worked hard. … We are a young team, have a lot of fun and believe in ourselves.”

Rangers led most of Game 1 in Raleigh before falling into overtime. They never led in the next two Carolina games, with the Hurricanes controlling the game and the Rangers holding on 17 shots in Game 5 on Thursday — which was a season low as Gallant said his team “looked tired” and “weren’t.” competitive enough”. ”

But Rangers bounced back at Madison Square Garden, scoring a power-play goal against the league’s best regular-season penalty for the fourth straight game. Center Mika Zibanejad also scored in a fourth straight game – the longest postseason streak by a Rangers player since 2007 – while Igor Shesterkin was again strong at the net.

These are areas of concern for Carolina entering Game 7. The Hurricanes scored a power-play goal in Game 5 but are otherwise 10-94 (10.6%) in 30 games since last March.

Additionally, Antti Raanta, who worked as a starter while No.1 goaltender Frederik Andersen was sidelined, had his first real stumble of the playoffs, giving up three goals before being snapped in the second half.

“Listen, it wasn’t all about him,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “He let a few in that he’d like to have back. It just prepares him for Game 7. It’s kind of a mentality.”

The Rangers are in their first away Game 7 since beating Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2014 playoffs and they are trying to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2015.

The Hurricanes are attempting a return to the Eastern Finals for the second time in four seasons. They made an unexpected run there in 2019 in Brind’Amour’s first season as coach after a nine-year playoff drought.

“You have to enjoy those moments because it’s pretty cool,” said Brind’Amour, who admits he has become more nervous as a coach than when he was playing. “It’s very special to have an opportunity like this.”


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Dais Johnston

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