CAR postgame Game 4 51124

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Brady Skjei said that his Carolina Hurricanes had to “win the day” in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round on Saturday.

Then the defenseman went out and did it.

Skjei scored on the power play with 3:11 remaining in the third period, the winning goal in a 4-3 victory against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena that meant the Hurricanes avoided elimination for at least two more days.

Game 5 of the best-of-7 series is at New York on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS, CBC).

“I feel like going into every game, you’re trying to feel confident and that you can be the guy to do it,” Skjei said. “Obviously, it doesn’t happen that often.”

It happened in a most unlikely manner Saturday.

Skjei, never a fixture on the top man-advantage unit during the regular season, was elevated there as Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour looked to jump-start a power play that was 0-for-15 entering the game and had become a hindrance mentally.

Brind’Amour changed things up in the past couple of games, first giving Tony DeAngelo some reps on the top power-play unit and then going to Skjei there in Game 4.

He said he was looking for mojo. He found it.

“We’ve had some good looks in this series on the power play,” Brind’Amour said. “[Andrei Svechnikov] has had three or four right in the slot and another one tonight.

“You are going to go through those stretches, but you don’t want to give up chances. That’s the real dagger. Tonight, I thought we had a couple of good looks again and just real lucky to get one in.”

The Skjei goal -- a rising wrist shot that eluded the glove of Igor Shesterkin as he dealt with a screen set by Seth Jarvis -- ended a run of 16 straight power plays without a goal in this series that included a short-handed goal allowed.

"I thought the penalty kill was still good,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. “They took a shot from the point. He hammered it. It had eyes. It was a top-corner shot. Traffic in front of the net. There was a lot going on there."

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It was the blueprint that the Hurricanes had preached after losing each of the first three games by a goal, including two in overtime: Find a goal with the man-advantage, and they could conceivably turn the tide of the series.

“I mean, obviously, he’s got a great shot and I think we were due for a nice bounce on that,” said Carolina goalie Frederik Andersen, who made 22 saves. “It’s really nice to see guys get rewarded for how hard everyone works.”

The Hurricanes worked hard in the first period, knowing they would need a strong start to stay alive and prevent the Rangers from sweeping a second straight series and winning an eighth game in a row to tie for the second-longest winning streak to open a Stanley Cup Playoffs.

They said they needed goals from lower-line players, they needed clutch goals, they needed traffic in front of the Rangers goalie and they needed to keep their defensive integrity.

They got it all.

Fourth-line forward Evgeny Kuznetsov scored at 1:51. Stefan Noesen, another player who has spent time on the fourth line, jumped onto the ice on a line change and shoveled the rebound of a Teuvo Teravainen shot past Shesterkin for a 2-0 lead at 6:33.

It was the first time the Rangers had faced a multiple-goal deficit in this postseason, but it didn’t last long. New York forward Will Cuylle scored his first goal of the postseason on a breakaway at 8:06 to cut it to 2-1.

Carolina forward Sebastian Aho made it 3-1 with a vicious snap shot from the slot after a pass from Jake Guentzel.

It was the first time this postseason that Shesterkin had allowed three goals in a period.

But, as has been their wont this postseason, the Rangers rallied. Barclay Goodrow tipped a point shot past Andersen at 13:43 of the second period to cut the lead to one.

At 2:04 of the third, Alexis Lafrenière caught Andersen losing his near-side post and banked a shot from below the goal line off the goalie’s back and into the net to tie the game.

This time, the Hurricanes didn’t fold. They fought and they found the winner.

“We always seem to focus on whatever happens good or bad and [go on] to the next play,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s what happened. I don’t know that we were great the rest of the way, but we certainly didn’t go the other way, which could have happened.”

Game 5 now looms, and the odds remain long. Of the 209 teams that have opened a best of-7 playoff series with three losses, four have come all the way back to advance.

The Hurricanes have a chance to continue that journey in a quest to be the fifth.

The first step is winning Monday.

“That’s kind of our mindset going forward here -- just win the day,” Skjei said. “We’re still win-or-go-home.  Every game from here on out is going to be the same message in the locker room.”

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