RALIH, NC – Nine years have passed since Brendan Smith last scored in the Stanley Cup play-offs.
And Anti Ranta, well, he’s never had a post-season game like that.
The Carolina Hurricanes continue to find different ways to win the playoffs. That’s why they are unbeaten at home, again 2-0 in a row.
Smith scored a short goal at the end of the second half, while Ranta made 21 saves for his first post-season break to help the Storms win. New York Rangers 2-0 on Friday night, winning the second game of their second round.
“I think if we just stick to our style, it will eventually wear out in teams, we will find a way to win,” said Smith.
Smith’s goal after Sebastian Aho’s meal was the difference between the two teams’ well-defended game, which saw less space to act and even less traffic on the net.
Aho added an attractive empty net score to finish it in 1.8 seconds when Ranta stopped.
It came two nights after the Hurricanes came together to equalize the first game in the final minutes against Aho’s equalizer in the third period, followed by a rare OT goal by defender Ian Cole. That came after scoring the first-round top score against Boston in seven games.
“Teams that are still playing this time of year can adapt to any game,” said Carolina coach Rod Brind Amour.
Now 6-0 at home in the playoffs, Carolina faces the challenge of winning for the first time in the offseason after failing to win a road game against the Bruins.
They will get their first chance to win the third game on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. And the Rangers must return to Serie A after a 3-1 defeat to beat Pittsburgh in the first round of seven games.
“I’m pleased with how we are doing together,” said Rangers manager Gerard Galan. “I wish we had one of these two games. “We probably could, but that’s the way it is.”
Igor Shesterkin finished with 20 saves, leading the Rangers with a few offensive moments at night.
Teams teamed up for 43 shots, each with 11 penalty kicks, with New York killing more than 5 minutes to 3, while the Hurricanes scoring their shortest goal in a 4-minute kill for twice the small height. – Putting Brady Skye on the penalty spot.
The Hurricanes flirted several times at the beginning of the game with a short hand goal, including one when Joe Terravainen hit the right post in the first half from Aho’s show.
It ended with the Hurricanes’ breakthrough scoring when Aho skidded to the right և creating Smith for a time from left to close with Shesterkin 4-06 in the second.
Smith, 33, has scored two goals in his post-season career. The last one took place on May 18, 2013, in the second game in the second round of Detroit during the 7-game defeat against Chicago.
This was Ranta’s 13th playoff game in his career, he’s the first to keep the net clean. It helped that Carolina completed 24 free kicks, five of which came from defender Brett Pesch.
“I did not feel I had to do such a huge saver or anything like that,” Raanta said. “All the boys took care that there were no back-up games or easy blows. “The boys definitely helped me a lot.”
The Rangers have scored one goal in the first two games, and the only score in the neutral zone after the 7:07 turn of the first game.
It did not help that attacking stars Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin and Chris Krader did not come out. They scored seven goals together during the two games.
“Hit the net more, get more bodies to the net, get more traffic, create your own luck, create your own jumps,” said defender Jacob Truba. “I think that should be a little bit more our way of thinking.”
Brind’Amour adjusted his lines a bit, looking for a spark on the return of the first game, then left that look for the second game.
It is noteworthy that Teravainen climbed to the top line to play alongside Aho’s newcomer Seth Jarvis, while Andrei Svechnikov moved to the second line. Brind’Amour also raised speed skater Martin Nekas to the second line, colliding with Max Domi in the 7th game against Boston, to the fourth line.
The Rangers were left with the same pair of lines to start this one, as Gallan eventually moved Alexis Lafrenier to the second line, with Panarin’s Ryan Strom in the third.
“I am trying to score a goal,” said Galant.
The Hurricanes’ 6-0 home playoff record marks the first time the NHL team has won its first six post-season home games since Nashville in 2017. It marks the franchise’s longest home win streak in a single post-season.
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