Carolina Hurricanes hand New York Rangers 1st playoff loss

RALEIGH, N.C. — Brady Skjei scored on the power play with 3:11 left to help the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the New York Rangers 4-3 on Saturday night, staving off a sweep by winning Game 4 of the second-round playoff series.

Skjei’s shot from the point came off a feed from Tuevo Teravainen, with the puck zipping past Igor Shesterkin to catch the post and bang into the net. That was Carolina’s first goal with the man advantage in 17 tries in the series, and it finally pushed Carolina ahead for good on a night when the Hurricanes squandered a two-goal lead.

No matter, though. The Hurricanes survived to fight another day in the NHL playoffs.

The Rangers get another closeout chance Monday night with the 3-1 lead when the series returns to Madison Square Garden for Game 5.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Stefan Noesen and Sebastian Aho each scored for Carolina, which led 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period during a strong start that built some early momentum. Frederik Andersen finished with 22 saves as Carolina tries to become the fifth team to rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series and first since 2014.

Will Cuylle, Barclay Goodrow and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers, while Shesterkin finished with 27 saves.

New York had won their first seven playoff games after sweeping Washington in Round 1 and taking the first three of this series, and had a chance to become the first team to reach 8-0 in a postseason since Edmonton won its first nine games on the way to claiming the Stanley Cup in 1985.

Lafreniere had the Rangers within reach of that when he capitalized on a mistake by Andersen, who let his left skate extend past the post as Lafreniere skated in on the right side. As he skated toward the boards, Lafreniere bounced a puck off Andersen’s left hip, then into the net for the 3-3 tie at 2:04 of the third period.

The series began with the potential for heavy drama considering the Metropolitan Division-winning Rangers also won the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top regular-season team, while the Hurricanes — in the playoffs for the sixth straight season — finished three points behind and entered the NHL playoffs as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, according to Bet MGM Sportsbook.

The tight finishes have been there with the Rangers winning 4-3 in both Game 1 and 2 — the latter in double overtime — and then taking Game 3 in Raleigh on Artemi Panarin’s OT score for the 3-2 win. But the Rangers had been winning the special-teams battle in a landslide, outscoring the Hurricanes 5-0 with four power-play goals and a shorthanded score while Carolina’s No. 2-ranked regular-season power play entered Saturday at 0 for 15 in the series.

Carolina came up empty on its first power play, but Skjei’s goal finally gave the Hurricanes a desperately needed breakthrough.


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