Hurricanes’ futility on road continues in Game 6 Stanley Cup playoff loss to Rangers

·3 min read

The Carolina Hurricanes continue to be the most predictable team in the Stanley Cup playoffs, unbeaten at home but unable to win a single game on the road.

Because of it, the Canes also are on the brink of having their season end — again.

Now 0-6 away from home, the Hurricanes once again are in the position of having to rely on home ice to help carry them through another Game 7, another series.

The New York Rangers kept their season alive Saturday in Game 6, stopping the Canes 5-2 at Madison Square Garden to even the series 3-3 and force a deciding Game 7 on Monday at 8 p.m. at PNC Arena.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against Carolina Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis (24) during the second period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against Carolina Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis (24) during the second period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Brady Skjei and Vincent Trocheck scored for Carolina in the second period — Trocheck from his knees — against Igor Shesterkin. But the damage already had been done to the Canes, who again struggled on the power play on the road in the series, took too many penalties and had goalie Antti Raanta pulled in the second period.

Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin each had power-play goals, Filip Chytil scored twice and Tyler Motte chipped in a goal for the Rangers. Motte had the game’s first goal — as soft a goal as Raanta has allowed in the playoffs.

It was this kind of game: Shesterkin had two assists for the Rangers while Canes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, who rarely has a stick infraction, was called for a double-minor for high-sticking Chris Kreider.

Before the game, Skjei said the Canes had to be better in the 50-50 puck battles, the power play and the penalty kill to end their streak of road losses. The Canes did fight for pucks and win their share of the battles, but they allowed two power-play goals — again — while coming up empty on their power plays.

The Rangers scored first, had a 2-0 lead after the first period and sent Raanta to the bench early in the second after a third goal. Rookie Pyotr Kochetkov entered the game, only to allow a goal after Skjei had scored on a shot from the top of the slot.

Shesterkin seemingly was a part of everything, He stopped enough shots to win, had the two assists and took a penalty with 2:18 left in the second period when he shoved the Canes’ Seth Jarvis down by the net.

New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) collides with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brendan Smith (7) during the first period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
New York Rangers center Barclay Goodrow (21) collides with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brendan Smith (7) during the first period of Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup second-round playoff series, Saturday, May 28, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Canes were making a push but could not convert on the power play as the Rangers took the two-goal edge into the third.

The Canes, 7-0 at home, will try to repeat the Boston Bruins series, where they lost all three games at TD Garden in Boston but won Game 7 at PNC Arena behind Raanta, who was emotional after the game.

But the Rangers are a better team and bigger threat than the Bruins. They have Shesterkin, a Vezina Trophy finalist. They have proven snipers in Zibanejad, Kreider and Panarin.

Zibanejad became the first Ranger player to have goals in four straight playoff games since Brendan Shanahan in 2007. Shesterkin’s assist on the play made him the second goalie in Rangers history to have multiple points in a postseason.

Shesterkin, like the Rangers, has been hard to handle at MSG. Before Saturday, he was 5-1 record with a .949 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average in home games.

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