R2, Gm6: Rangers @ Hurricanes Recap

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Chris Kreider scored a natural hat trick in the third period, and the New York Rangers rallied from down two goals to eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes with a 5-3 win in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at PNC Arena on Thursday.

New York advanced to the conference final, where it will face either the Boston Bruins or Florida Panthers. Florida leads that best-of-7 series 3-2 entering Game 6 at Boston on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MAX, truTV, TNT, SN, TVAS, CBC).

“There’s a belief in the room and a trust in the guys that’s been built over the time we’ve spent together here,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said. “We know what’s on the line, we only get so many cracks at it. We wanted to end this thing tonight after letting it slip away in New York (in a 4-1 loss in Game 5 on Monday), so that was the focus. We knew we had one more period to get it done. A lot of guys stepped up big.”

Kreider’s three goals came in a span of 8:58.

Ryan Lindgren circled the net and passed to Kreider in front for a tap-in that put the Rangers ahead 4-3 at 15:41. Barclay Goodrow scored an empty-net goal with 49 seconds left for the 5-3 final.

“It never really felt like we were out of it,” Kreider said. “We talk about being a resilient group and a competitive group. I think we showed that tonight.”

Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist, Artemi Panarin had two assists, and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves for the Rangers, who are the No. 1 seed from the Metropolitan Division. They scored their four third-period goals on 10 shots.

“That is just a monster third period,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said of Kreider's performance. “I mean, [Kreider] put it on his back and he really delivered. It was more than him, but at the end of the day we needed to score goals, and this is what he does and this is what he did tonight."

NYR@CAR R2, Gm6: Kreider nets three goals in the 3rd period

Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Svechnikov had two assists for the Hurricanes, the No. 2 seed from the Metropolitan, who avoided elimination twice after the Rangers took a 3-0 series lead. Frederik Andersen made 19 saves.

“We had chances to build the lead, but obviously we couldn’t do it,” Aho said. “Whoever scores a goal gets a little momentum, and they did a good job riding the momentum. It just didn’t go our way.”

The Rangers tied it 3-3 on the power play at 11:54 when Kreider tipped a long wrist shot by Panarin.

“You don’t really see him stress,” New York forward Mika Zibanejad said of Kreider. “Sometimes it feels like we don’t have much, but we don’t need much to get something going. He’s great with that for our line, to just keep calm, keep working and eventually it will come. I’m just really happy for him to be able to perform in a game like this, and also very thankful for that performance to come at the right time.”

Kreider cut it to 3-2 at 6:43. Andersen pinned the puck against the right post after Zibanejad flipped it there from below the goal line, but Kreider punched the puck in before Andersen could secure it.

“It definitely hurts. You don’t want to give them life,” Andersen said. “I thought I had it covered and I wasn’t able to get my glove down on it. A mistake. Tough timing for that. We weren’t able to bounce back this time.”

Rangers forward Jack Roslovic won a battle with Jaccob Slavin along the right boards before Zibanejad worked the puck wide of Brent Burns.

“Obviously, that goal was a tough one,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It just can’t happen, we know that. You can’t give a team like that a goal, and I thought we gave them a couple.”

NYR@CAR R2, Gm6: Trocheck answers right back with tip-in goal in 2nd period

Carolina took a 1-0 lead with 1:22 left in the first period. Jordan Martinook made a backhand pass from behind the net to Martin Necas, who roofed a shot over Shesterkin’s glove.

The Hurricanes increased the lead to 2-0 on the power play at 4:38 of the second period. Seth Jarvis popped in a loose puck from the crease after Aho tipped Svechnikov’s wrist shot through Shesterkin’s pads.

Trocheck cut it to 2-1 at 5:29 when he tipped Panarin’s long wrist shot from above the left circle following a long clearing attempt by Hurricanes defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Aho extended the lead to 3-1 at 9:23. He took a pass off the right boards in the neutral zone and held the puck on a 2-on-1 with Jake Guentzel before scoring on a wrist shot.

Martinook prevented a Rangers goal at 13:05 when he slid on his stomach to clear the puck off the goal line after Lindgren’s backhand from in close trickled through Andersen’s five-hole.

NYR@CAR R2, Gm6: Martinook gets stick on Lindgren's shot just in time

The Rangers were outshot 20-14 after two periods.

“There wasn’t a whole lot said after the second,” Trocheck said. “It’s just that we knew that wasn’t the way we needed to play in order to win hockey games in the playoffs. We just had to go out there and make a decision in the third period, and either show up and play and be a part of the series or don’t. I think we had 20 guys show up in the third.”

NOTES: Kreider became the third player in NHL history to score a third-period hat trick that included a Stanley Cup Playoff series-clinching goal (Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 6 of 2018 first round; Jack Darragh, Ottawa Senators, Game 5 of 1920 Stanley Cup Final). He became the third player in Rangers history to score a hat trick in a potential series-clinching game, joining Mike Gartner (Game 5 of 1990 Patrick Division Semifinals) and Steve Vickers (Game 5 of 1973 NHL Quarterfinals), and also is the third player in New York history with three goals in a playoff period (Mark Messier, Game 6 of 1994 conference final; Wayne Gretzky, Game 4 of 1997 conference quarterfinals). … The Rangers reached the conference final for the second time in three seasons; they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2022.

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