In game two between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers on Monday afternoon, the story of the day was the Hurricanes first ever franchise hat trick in the postseason.
From the start of the game, the Hurricanes looked to make offensive waves with Jordan Staal winning the first face-off. Frustration from the Rangers was clear, as in the first 16 seconds, Pavel Buchnevich took the first penalty of the game, being called for crosschecking. Nothing came on the power play as Henrik Lundqvist played strong in net.
Shortly after, in the first, there was a back pass in the ‘Canes offensive zone from Sebastian Aho which saw Andrei Svechnikov score his first goal of the day, slipping the shot under the arm of Lundqvist. Assists were awarded to Sebastian Aho and Sami Vatanen with Vatanen continuing to show good form in his second game with the ‘Canes.
After the first goal, Haydn Fleury took a penalty for interference after dumping a New York Rangers player. Not even a minute after Fleury’s penalty, Aho went off for slashing, this giving the Rangers a five-on-three offensive push. With the two extra men on the ice, New York got the puck through to Hart and Lindsay Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin who managed to put in the power play goal. The pass to Panarin was fed by Ryan Strome with the other assist going to Tony DeAngelo.
After killing the rest of their penalty, the ‘Canes took another minor as Jordan Martinook went off for tripping with just over four minutes left in the period. Mika Zibanejad got through the defence on the power play to make a good shot on net, but Petr Mrazek made a tight glove save. Mrazek kept his patience, not playing overly aggressively, staying in his net and waiting for the shot to come in. Kaapo Kakko also made it through on a power play breakaway, but went just wide, barely missing the net in an attempt for his first ever Stanley Cup playoff goal.
Just over a minute into the second, Brendan Smith went to the box for high sticking, giving the Hurricanes another chance at the power play. Seizing the opportunity, Svechnikov scored his second of the night just three seconds into the power play. On Svechnikov’s second goal of the night, he was again assisted by Aho and Vatanen with Aho winning the face-off and Vatanen making the feed pass for the goal.
Hardly over a minute later, the Hurricanes were back in the offensive zone and managed to score their third of the day. Martinook took the third goal on a quick shot after getting the puck from Morgan Geekie with the second assist being given to Brock McGinn. Lundqvist, working hard, kept the score at 3-1 with his defence letting the ‘Canes offence through and not overly helping relieve pressure from their goalie. When the Rangers did get in for any offensive push, they were smothered by Hurricanes players with offensive players complimenting the defensive pairings on the ice as well. This included Justin Williams coming back to make a great pass block to break up the play.
Right as the buzzer sounded, there was a large amount of controversy in the Rangers zone with two players being issued penalties to start in the final frame. Buchnevich and Martinook took the penalties as they had been the most active in the clash after the buzzer, both being given two minute minors for roughing.
The puck dropped on the third period, this seeing four-on-four action take place. With New York being hungry for offence, the Rangers were just continually suppressed by Hurricanes players. New York was hardly able to move in the offensive zone without a ‘Canes player being right on top of them. Shortly after the four-on-four expired, Williams went into the box while being called for an interference penalty. The Rangers, however, showed a lack lustre power play unit as the registered 0 shots on the power play.
At centre ice, Aho took the puck back, showing his skill in forechecking and breaking forward for an offensive push. Aho drew the two Rangers defensemen, as well as drawing Lundqvist towards him before making a pass across the crease to Andrei Svechnikov. He would net the goal while also completing his hat trick successfully. This set a record for the Hurricanes as their first ever playoff hat trick. It also put them into position to win their first ever three goal playoff game. Aho was credited with the only assist, this seeing him rack up three points on the night.
Frustration clearly boiled over as DeAngelo was looking for a fighting partner and found one in Martinook, who out the gate, made the power hits on the Rangers defensemen. However, Martinook soon fell slightly forward and was getting hit by DeAngelo in a rough way that would see DeAngelo thrown out for the rest of the game. He would receive a 10 minute game misconduct and two minutes for roughing which Julien Gauthier would serve.
The Hurricanes left-winger, Martinook, continued to play after a two-minute roughing penalty, not appearing to have taken any injuries from his encounter with DeAngelo. After the four-on-four ended, the Rangers would take one last frustration penalty as Chris Kreider was sent off for roughing with just over a minute left to play on the clock.
This would hand the Hurricanes a power play which would complete their record setting game. With Svechnikov truly being the star in this one and the puck from his hat trick being taped to remember it, this game will go down in history for being both the first postseason hat trick for Carolina and their first ever three goal win in postseason play.
The Rangers are left with the question of if Lundqvist will start in Tuesday’s game that could be the final game in the series if Carolina wins. Shesterkin, the young Rangers goalie, has been out due to an injury, but the Rangers may consider playing him in an attempt to spice their play for Tuesday’s game. That of course being the case having dropped the last two to the Hurricanes in Toronto.
Notably missing from the game for the Hurricanes was Dougie Hamilton who was seen practicing with the ‘Canes and is reportedly in game shape, but has been excluded from the last two games by Carolina.
The Hurricanes return to action at Rogers Place on Tuesday night with puck drop scheduled for 8:00pmET as they look to eliminate New York for good. The game is available for viewing on Sportsnet 360, NHL.TV and NBCSN. The game will also be carried on TVA Sports to be viewed in French. As well, it can be heard via radio on 99.9 The Fan.