NEW YORK -- The best of the New York Rangers showed up in a big way. Again.

Dominant special teams. Production from the top six forwards. Enough saves from goalie Igor Shesterkin.

It's the recipe the Rangers followed to their Presidents' Trophy-winning regular season and through a first-round sweep of the Washington Capitals.

The same ingredients helped them whip up a 4-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Game 2 is at the Garden on Tuesday.

"You're off for a bit of time, you come back, you're a week out from the last time you played, I thought the start was really good and I thought we followed that right through the game," Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought it was pretty consistent the way we played. Mika, obviously, had a huge night. 'Troch' has been like that all year."

Mika Zibanejad scored two goals and had an assist in the first period. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist in the first. Chris Kreider assisted on one of Zibanejad's goals and on Trocheck's. Artemi Panarin's goal in the third period turned into the game-winner.

Add in assists for Alexis Lafrenière and Jack Roslovic, whose speed led to Zibanejad's first goal at 2:46 of the first, and the Rangers' top-six forward group combined for 10 points on four goals and six assists.

Adam Fox, the Rangers' leading scorer on the back end, also had an assist.

"We rely on those guys," defenseman Braden Schneider said. "They're amazing players. They're producing, but at the same time they're working all over the ice. They're in the D-zone blocking shots. They're skating up through the neutral zone. They're working on the forecheck. And it's paying off for us. I think they've done a great job leading the way for us."

Zibanejad in particular has taken his game to another level in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He's up to 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in five games, tied with Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl for second-most in the League behind Connor McDavid's 12.

He has points in all five playoff games, including at least two in the past four. He had 72 points (26 goals, 46 assists) in 81 games in the regular season.

"That's very important, for sure, when players like Mika stand up and show his skills, his level," Panarin said. "It's unbelievable."

The same adjective can be used for the Rangers' power play.

They scored on their only two power-play opportunities, needing two shots and a combined 23 seconds to do so; nine seconds for Zibanejad to make it 2-1 at 10:05 of the first and 14 seconds for Trocheck to extend the lead to 3-1 lead at 16:28.

"Efficient" was the word Laviolette used to describe it.

It was that way in the regular season, when the Rangers finished third in the League at 26.4 percent.

The power play is 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) in the playoffs.

"I thought we were executing, trying to attack," Zibanejad said. "It's a really good PK that we're playing against, so we have to execute and I thought we did that tonight. It's something that we're going to have to keep doing if we're going to have some success against these guys."

Discussing the Rangers' Game 1 win

New York's penalty kill was just as efficient, holding the Hurricanes to 0-for-5 with four shots on goal. The Rangers themselves had two shots on goal on the PK.

They're 20-for-22 with two short-handed goals on the PK in the playoffs.

"I felt it was a tight game 5-on-5, both teams are doing a good job of trying to eliminate chances as much as possible, so special teams are going to be huge for us," Zibanejad said. "From [Shesterkin] and all the guys on the PK did a great job. They have two really good [power play] units that can find opportunities to score and I thought we did a good job of pressuring."

Shesterkin did his job with 22 saves, but the key was how the Rangers kept a high shot volume team like Carolina to 25 shots on goal.

They blocked 28 shots. Carolina missed the net on 18 more.

"Huge blocked shots in front of me," Shesterkin said. "The guys played great. They did everything for me -- box out, blocked shots, huge job."

Panarin delivered in the clutch too, scoring off the rush with a shot from the left face-off circle to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead at 8:21 of the third period.

The shot went under goalie Frederik Andersen's right armpit.

"Old Spice shot," Panarin said jokingly.

Seth Jarvis' goal with Andersen pulled at 18:13 made it 4-3, but the Rangers held on and Panarin's goal stood as his NHL-best third game-winner in five playoff games.

"He's been a guy who has led this team offensively," Laviolette said. "The playoffs have now started and he's just following through with what he did in the regular season."

The Rangers have done that as a team.

Special teams. Top six forwards. Shesterkin. Five wins out of five in the playoffs.

"We've just got to keep going," Zibanejad said.

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