Vincent Trocheck’s 2-OT goal lifts Rangers to 4-3 win against Hurricanes in epic Game 2

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In an absolute classic postseason game played between two NHL heavyweights, the New York Rangers got a power-play goal from Vincent Trocheck in double overtime to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at a pulsating Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 2-0 heading to Raleigh for the next two games. With the thrilling win, the Blueshirts are undefeated through six games this postseason.

“Very resilient. Obviously, ‘Shesty’ kept us in the game multiple times,” Trocheck said. “And on the goal, I couldn’t tell you what happened. It went in.”

Again, special teams were crucial for the Rangers. They scored the tying and winning goals on the power play and were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, including a pair of kills after regulation.

Trocheck scored the winner at 7:24 of double OT, slipping the puck between Frederik Andersen’s pads after it bounced off Carolina defenseman Brent Burns in front of the net. The 30-year-old center now has scored goals in five straight games.

Igor Shesterkin made 54 saves, tied for third most by a Rangers goalie in a postseason game. He’s now allowed three goals or fewer in 29 consecutive playoff games.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Shesterkin said postgame.

Alexis Lafreniere scored twice for the Rangers, Chris Kreider had a power-play goal and Artemi Panarin contributed three assists.

Andersen had 35 saves for the Hurricanes, who’ve now lost two double-overtime games in the 2024 playoffs, after also losing Game 4 in the first round to the New York Islanders. Jake Guentzel scored two goals, Dmitry Orlov had one and Sebastian Aho had three assists.

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New York Rangers 4 – Carolina Hurricanes 3 (2OT)

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in as many games in this series, the Rangers scored first, when Lafreniere sniped a tough-angle left-wing shot that beat Andersen short side at 10:53 of the first period. It was Lafreniere’s first goal in this postseason and first in 28 playoff games dating to Game 5 of New York’s first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 11, 2022.

Less than two minutes later the Rangers had a prime opportunity to double their advantage. Shesterkin was sent sprawling to the ice as he was playing the puck behind his own net and Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov was assessed a tripping minor at 12:05.

New York’s red-hot power play, which was 2-for-2 in the series opener Sunday and had scored eight times in the previous four games, couldn’t deliver this time and make Carolina pay for an undisciplined penalty.

The Hurricanes promptly tied the game at 15:07 when Guentzel neatly deflected Aho’s shot past Shesterkin after eluding K’Andre Miller in front of the net. Rubbing salt in the Rangers wound was Svechnikov setting up the play with great puck possession, skating from right wing around the net to left wing before zipping a pass to Aho.

Carolina took its first lead of the series when it scored again on a deflection, this time with six seconds remaining in the first period. Orlov cut around Fox to the net and deflected a Brady Skjei shot into the net to make it 2-1 for the Hurricanes.

It marked the first time in 16 periods during this postseason that the Rangers trailed at the end of a period.

Shesterkin repeatedly came up big early in the second period to keep it a one-goal game as the Hurricanes tilted the ice heavily in their favor. An already-intense atmosphere continued to grow more heated as players from both teams exchanged hits and verbal jabs, with Vincent Trocheck and Guentzel among those jawing at one another.

The Rangers turned the tide as the period wore on and scored the equalizer at 7:32. It was Lafreniere scoring again for the Blueshirts, going to the net to direct a brilliant pass from Fox past Andersen to make it 2-2.

However, Carolina again scored late in a period, to regain a one-goal lead. Guentzel skated untouched between the circles and buried a pretty feed from Aho at 18:18 for his second of the game and third of the playoffs.

This seesaw contest took another turn when the Rangers’ power play came through early in the third period. Kreider scored off a scramble after Andersen failed to control a rebound, his third postseason goal tied the score 3-3 at 6:07.

The Rangers went back to the power play when Jordan Martinook was whistled for tripping at 9:54. New York buzzed Carolina’s net but couldn’t score, Trocheck missing the net with the best opportunity in close. However, the best scoring chance was by the Hurricanes when Skjei drilled a shorthanded chance off the rush on net, forcing Shesterkin to make a good pad save, followed by a solid stop against Skjei on the rebound.

There’d be one more power play for New York before the third period ended. Skjei was sent off for tripping Alex Wennberg at 18:22 and the Rangers had a chance to finish off the Hurricanes late in regulation.

Yet, it was the visitors with the best scoring chances, Shesterkin saving the game with clutch saves against Seth Jarvis and Jalen Chatfield off separate shorthanded rushes. Those were two of the 17 saves Shesterkin made in the third period that helped send the game to overtime.

Early in the first overtime, Shesterkin was at it again, making a huge right-pad stop after Aho weaved in and around the Rangers defense. Andersen equaled that with a terrific blocker save to deny Jack Roslovic on a 2-on-1 break five minutes into OT. Then Shesterkin answered back with a brilliant save down low against Aho at 6:39.

“Igor played an Igor-esque type of game tonight,” Trocheck said. “He was outstanding, kept us in the game. He had 55 shots or something (57), which is insane. But whenever he’s on like that, it’s tough to beat him. And it’s tough to beat our team when he’s making saves like he was tonight.”

The Rangers came through on the penalty kill when Jacob Trouba took a tripping minor at 7:57 of overtime. New York stayed tight in the box, allowed only two shots on goal and survived a crucial moment in the game.

Mika Zibanejad had the game on his stick with 8:15 remaining in the first OT after splitting the defense and accepting a Trouba pass in the slot. But Andersen was perfectly positioned to swallow the shot. With under two minutes left, Lafreniere was all alone in front, but Andersen stuffed his point-blank shot. Then Andersen denied a prime Zibanejad opportunity with 62 seconds remaining, sending the game to a second overtime.

The Rangers killed off another Hurricanes power play after Panarin was sent off for hooking at 3:28 of double overtime. Shortly before that kill, Panarin almost won the game with a scintillating one-man effort that ended with an excellent right-pad save by Andersen.

That kill saved the day because shortly after the Rangers went to the power play and won it on Trocheck’s goal.

Special teams, and Shesterkin, again saved the day for the Rangers, who came from behind to win for the 31st time this season, including both the regular season and postseason.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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