Smith and Raanta help the Hurricanes’ top Rangers lead 2-0 in a row

RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Brendan Smith scored a goal from a man down late in the second half while Antti Raanta helped make 21 saves on Friday night as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 2-0 and went 2-0 in The lead went to the second round playoff series.

Smith’s goal from a Sebastian Aho pass was his first post-season goal in nine years, and it was the difference in a tightly defended game by both teams with little space and even less traffic-free views of the net.

Aho added a crucial empty-net result with 1.8 seconds left when Raanta held.

The Hurricanes had flirted with scoring from a man down on several occasions early in the game, including once when Teuvo Teravainen hit the right post after a feed from Aho in the first half. In the end, it spelled the Hurricanes’ breakthrough as Aho ran in on the right to set up Smith for a one-timer from the left that went clean past Igor Shesterkin to go 4:06 of the second.

Carolina improved 6-0 at home in the playoffs and lead 2-0 for the second year in a row. Now they face the challenge of winning away for the first time in the postseason after winning a seven-game first-round streak against Boston in which neither team achieved an away win.

They get their first chance to win in Game 3 on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. And Rangers will look to start another series comeback after recovering from a 3-1 deficit to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game first-round series.

Shesterkin finished with 20 saves to lead the Rangers in a night with few offensive highlights.

The teams combined for 43 shots and also had big penalty kills, with New York killing more than a minute of the 5-on-3, while the Hurricanes scored their goal outnumbered with a 4-minute kill for a double minor High stick penalty against Brady Skjei.

CHANGING APPEARANCE

Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour adjusted his lines a bit to look for a spark on the Game 1 comeback, and then stuck with that look for Game 2.

Most notably, Teravainen rose to the top tier to play alongside Aho and rookie Seth Jarvis, while Andrei Svechnikov rose to the second tier. Brind’Amour also brought fast skater Martin Necas to the second row, pushing Max Domi – the hero of Game 7 against Boston with two goals – to the fourth row.

Rangers stayed with the same lineup pairings early in this series, although coach Gerard Gallant eventually moved Alexis Lafrenière to the second line alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome in a bid to look for a spark into the third period.

BACK ON IMMEDIATELY

Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren walked just after halftime in the first period after putting a puck in the mouth area near the boards. He was back on the bench and just off the ice towards the end of the period.

SIREN HANDSET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey sounded the “storm warning” siren before the game for the Hurricanes to take the ice.

NFL quarterback Mike Glennon and WNBA player Kiara Leslie — both former North Carolina State stars who played college here in Raleigh — sounded for the first and second breaks, respectively.

https://www.cbs17.com/sports/carolina-hurricanes/smith-raanta-hurricanes-top-rangers-for-2-0-series-lead/ Smith and Raanta help the Hurricanes’ top Rangers lead 2-0 in a row

DUSTIN JONES

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