Their most dominating performance of the postseason put the Carolina Hurricanes on the brink of getting through the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and pushed the New York Rangers into yet another must-win game.
That came in a 3-1 win on Thursday in Raleigh, N.C. Now, the Hurricanes are hoping to secure their elusive first road win of the postseason while the Rangers are hoping their home-ice magic appears yet again when the shifts to New York for Game 6.
The Hurricanes have a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
If Carolina can finish it off, a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning and their fifth conference finals appearance await. If the Rangers can continue the trend of the home team winning each game, Game 7 will be Monday night at Carolina.
Carolina is 0-5 on the road against the Hurricanes and their first-round opponent, Boston, and has been outscored 21-8 in those games. The Hurricanes advanced to the brink of finishing the series by turning in their finest performance of the postseason with Thursday’s win.
“It was kind of the game that I’ve been waiting for,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve been playing OK, but tonight was good all the way around — more obviously how we want to play.”
Vincent Trocheck scored a short-handed goal in the first period, and Teuvo Teravainen scored the tiebreaking goal on a power play in the second after Carolina went 0-for-9 on the man advantage in the first four games. Andrei Svechnikov also scored on a breakaway in the third.
“We’ve got a solid defensive corps, top to bottom,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said. “We all skate well and that’s what we want to do. We want to make sure we’re staying aggressive, but also want to make sure we’re taking away their time, space and chances. Everyone played a heck of a game tonight.”
New York won three elimination games in the first round to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins and is on a five-game home winning streak since its triple overtime loss in the playoff opener.
On Thursday against Carolina, New York played its worst game of the series in a game that felt more lopsided than the final score, and coach Gerard Gallant conceded there was some fatigue for a team that had 27 comeback wins in the regular season.
“We weren’t as quick as them,” Gallant said. “We looked tired for whatever reason.”
Igor Shesterkin prevented Game 5 from being more lopsided by making 31 saves. The Rangers are hoping to clean it up defensively in front of Shesterkin, who made 43 saves in Game 3 and 30 in Game 4 and made 99 saves in three elimination games against Pittsburgh.
“We talked about experience with this group going into the playoffs but when I look around the room and the feel in that dressing room is super confident at all times, I think the first series helped a little bit and then having to win Games 3 and 4, those are pretty must-win games and we did a good job,” New York’s Ryan Strome said. “So, we can draw from those experiences. Our crowd’s gonna be great.”
–Field Level Media