Rangers topple Hurricanes in Game 3 to reduce the lead to 2-1

Rangers are tasked with turning that second-round streak on home ice after dropping the first two games on the road – and they took a step in the right direction on Sunday afternoon.

In another weak affair with the Hurricanes, the Rangers secured a 3-1 Game 3 win at Madison Square Garden to cut Carolina’s lead in the series to just one game and ensure it was at least five contests back by Game 4 are the Garden on Tuesday and Game 5 on Thursday in Raleigh, NC

With notable former Rangers Wayne Gretzky, Jeff Beukeboom, Tom Laidlaw and Stephane Matteau attending the matinee, the club held out in this streak.

After going 5-0 on the power play in the first two games, Rangers’ power play finally broke through in the first half, ending the scoring drought that dated back to the first 20 minutes of Game 1.

Mika Zibanejad celebrates after scoring the first goal in Rangers' Game 3 win over the Hurricanes.
Mika Zibanejad celebrates after scoring the first goal in Rangers’ Game 3 win over the Hurricanes.
Jason scenes

Goalie Igor Shesterkin saw plenty of action against a top-flight ‘Canes side that overtook his team 44-31. With 17 saves in the first, another 17 in the second and nine in the third, Shesterkin mastered the challenge, for which the Garden crowd thanked him by chanting his name as the clock ran out.

Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 2-0 less than six minutes into the middle frame and blasted one from the bottom left circle when former Hurricanes blueshirt defenseman Tony DeAngelo lost his stick in front of him. The goal tied Kreider with Ron Duguay for the ninth-points (47) in Rangers’ playoff history.

However, the Hurricanes held on with a soft goal that Shesterkin is sure to want back. Nino Niederreiter parried a backhand off the onslaught that whistled through under the star keeper’s armpit to draw Carolina to one at 8:18 of the second.

Chris Kreider, left, cheers after his goal in the second third.
Chris Kreider, left, cheers after his goal in the second third.
Jason scenes

But Tyler Motte scored an empty goal late in the closing stages to put the game out of reach.

Head coach Gerard Gallant messed up his lines to try and spark an offense after Rangers were ruled out in Game 2. The changes dissolved the kid line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko, which was Rangers’ most consistent postseason unit.

Placing Chytil on the right wing of the top row alongside Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, Frank Vatrano flanked the third unit with Kakko and Andrew Copp in the middle. Lafreniere jumped to the right wing of the second row alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome. The fourth line of Motte, Kevin Rooney and Ryan Reaves remained intact.

The redesigned topline was particularly effective, although Chytil, Kreider and Zibanejad only spent 2:06 ice time together during the regular season. They doubled the Hurricanes’ shots, 10-5 while they were on the ice for two periods – and Chytil looked even more energetic than he has been lately with a Top 6 honor.

Igor Shesterkin makes a save in Rangers' Game 3 win over the Hurricanes.
Igor Shesterkin makes a save in Rangers’ Game 3 win over the Hurricanes.
Jason scenes

But Gallant returned to the combinations Rangers had in the previous four games by the end of the second period.

Rangers might have gotten off to a slow start, only getting their first shot on goal after 6 ¹/₂ minutes, but their power play made up for it, opening the first strike to take a 1-0 lead at the break. Zibanejad whipped one just below Raanta’s blocker from a no-look cross-zone feed by Panarin at 11:54, ending the Hurricanes netminder’s 127:59 shutout streak.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/22/rangers-topple-hurricanes-in-game-3-to-cut-deficit-to-2-1/ Rangers topple Hurricanes in Game 3 to reduce the lead to 2-1

JOE HERNANDEZ

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