The Hurricanes picked the worst possible time to lose in Carolina. After not losing a single game at home in the playoffs, the Hurricanes fell to the Rangers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday, 6-2. The Rangers were led by 36 saves from the stellar Igor Shesterkin and, on the offensive end, by Chris Kreider.
New York jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period with a pair of power play goals, courtesy of Adam Fox and Kreider, respectively. For Fox, the goal came a handful of minutes into the period shortly after Canes star Sebastian Aho committed a penalty. It was the fifth straight game the Rangers have scored a power play goal in the first period and was Fox’s second score of the series.
Later in the frame, the Rangers extended their lead thanks to a Kreider tip on a Mika Zibanejad one-timer. Kreider was not done yet, as he would go on to finish the game with two goals. He now has 15 elimination game goals in his career — more than any active player — and is 7-1 in Game 7s, just one shy of the record.
The Canes battled back in the second period and kept the Rangers off the board until goalie Antti Raanta suffered an injury.
Following a rush at the net, Raanta fully stretched to make a save to his right side and sustained some type of lower-body injury. He left the game and did not return.
Just moments after that, Ryan Strome made it 3-0 in favor of the Rangers with a wrist shot that beat Raanta’s backup, Pyotr Kochetkov.
In the final period, Krieder got his second goal on a backhand shot four minutes in. Tony DeAngelo then broke through for Carolina with a goal five minutes later to make it 4-1, but at that point it was too little too late.
Awaiting the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final is a tall task. The Tampa Bay Lightning, in the hunt to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup, are well rested after sweeping the Florida Panthers in the semifinal. Game 1 of the series is set for Wednesday night in New York, the latter of which has home ice in the series.