RALEIGH, NC – Sebastian Aho extended the game. Ian Cole finished it. And that allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to avoid their first home defeat in the playoffs, despite the fact that most of the night they completely overplayed.
Cole defeated Igor Shesterkin in overtime with a score of 3:12 to help the Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Wednesday night, making a late rally to win game 1 of their second-round playoff series.
Aho forced an extra period when at the end of the third period in a dramatic finish squeezed Shesterkin. However, this obscured the fact that the winners of the capital’s division were lucky to win after the Rangers controlled the first 40 minutes.
“Thank you to our guys, they succeeded, it was certainly a good third period,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour. “We’re not going to get away with it without playing two periods and expect to win the game – especially at this time of year against this team.”
The Doctors won the home ice by securing the division title by defeating the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the final week of the regular season. They nearly passed it, but will instead be looking for their sixth win in a row here when they play Game 2 on Friday night.
Cole rebound winner cut off Rangers defender Ryan Lindgren’s stick, the puck changed direction before slipping past Shesterkin.
“I wanted to pass it on to someone,” Cole said. “And no one was really dangerous anywhere. So I said, ‘Well, I think I’ll throw it in the net and see what happens.’
“Hockey is a game with amazing rebounds, and it happened. Not the most beautiful, but we will accept it.”
The score completed Carolina’s late return, which began with the Hurricanes showing more perseverance and aggression that came out of the second break.
Carolina also received key efforts from Anti Raanta, who made 27 saves and helped the Hurricanes linger until their attack finally took its usual form.
“They gave a big boost in the third period in the first 10 minutes and we withstood that storm,” Rangers coach Gerard Galant said. “But the first two periods were perfect hockey for us. … I thought it was our best game of the year, and it was.”
Philip Chitil scored a goal in the first period for the Rangers, and Shasterkin finished with 24 saves.
Both teams went through a grueling first-round series of seven games, first Carolina finally beating Boston on Saturday and then New York bypassing Pittsburgh in overtime the day after.
The Hurricanes have never lagged behind in either this series or in four home wins. The Rangers had to unite due to a 3-1 series deficit, which included Shesterkin – the finalist of the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalkeeper and the Hart Trophy for the league’s MVP – moving away from 10 goals in games 3 and 4.
However, when this start began, it was the “Hurricanes” looked a step slow, and the “Rangers” gave up a few good chances. New York was also opportunistic at the perfect early moment.
When defender Tony DeAngelo tried to send the puck to teammate Jacob Slavin for a rebound, Rangers striker Alexis Lafrenier stole the pass and led a 3-1 run. 7:07 first.
This one-goal advantage lasted more than 50 minutes. It also helped that Hurricanes scored twice in the third, first by Nino Niederreiter and then by Aho, which seemed to confirm that it was not their night.
Instead, Aho received a serve from rookie Seth Jarvis and then switched to his backhand. Shasterkin made the initial stop, but Aho knocked down the rebound and tied the score at 2:23 and determined the winner Cole.
“We wanted to win, but on Friday we get another chance to try to get a division and come home,” said center Mika Zibanezad.
Carolina ended a series of three games at home in the second round of the playoffs. They lost all three games, despite having an advantage on home ice last year in a five-game series from possible two-time champion Tampa Bay.
Both of Chitila’s goals in the post-season games have been scored in the last four games when the Rangers have lifted the deficit in the first round of the series and advanced. In his first postseason, Lafrenier has three assists.
Teuvo Terovainen of Carolina gave an assist in a draw to Aho for his sixth assistant in the playoffs, while Jarvis also made the third assist.
Retired Hurricanes defender Sean Hill, who competed in the team’s 2002 Cup final, sounded a “storm warning” siren before the game to get the team on the ice.
Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson and PGA Tour golfer from Raleigh Cheson Hadley turned on the siren in the first and second intermissions respectively.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/aaronbeardap
More NHL AP: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.