Rangers’ hopes for division title crushed in 3-2 loss to Hurricanes

Rangers fall to Hurricanes 3-2
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) makes a save against Carolina Hurricanes center Seth Jarvis (24) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
AP Photos

NEW YORK – Any hope for the New York Rangers to jump in front of the Metro division may have been squashed Tuesday night. 

In a battle between two playoff-tested teams, the Carolina Hurricanes scored three times in the final period to cool off the red-hot Rangers by a 3-2 final. 

“They (Hurricanes) played a lot quicker than we were tonight. They managed the puck really well. It all comes back to we didn’t play our game.” head coach Gerard Gallant said. “I’m just disappointed in our effort and our compete level.”

Tuesday’s loss didn’t ultimately start out in disappointment. New York’s vaunted fourth line started the scoring in the first period. After forcing a turnover behind the net, Barclay Goodrow found Tyler Motte for the latter’s third goal since joining the Rangers and giving his team a 1-0 lead. It was the 16th straight goal scored by the Blueshirts without allowing an opposing score, the largest streak since the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014. 

From there, though, the Hurricanes dominated the contest. Even if Igor Shesterkin was holding strong for most of the contest. 

“The game shouldn’t have been that close,” Gallant added. “Fortunately for Shesty (Shesterkin) he kept us in it and gave us a chance.”

Carolina bombarded the Rangers’ defense and totaled 39 shots. It wasn’t until the final period though that the game completely shifted. In a span of a single minute, Carolina and New York would trade off three combined goals to go into the later minutes tied at two. Kaapo Kakko answered Jalen Chatfield’s score, but he was answered by Stefan Noesen just 18 seconds after. 

“Igor kept us in as long as he could.” captain Jacob Trouba said. “They won more battles and played a harder game.”

Late in the third, a defensive breakdown by New York allowed Teuvo Teravainen to corral a rebound past Shesterkin for the game-winner. The win moved Carolina to 100 points on the season and an eight-point cushion in the division over the Blueshirts. 

“They kind of force you to play a simple game,” explained Adam Fox. “They got the better of us…throughout the second period, they were giving it to us in our d-zone. You have to give them credit, they worked hard and made the most of their opportunities.”

New York’s loss dropped them to 41-20-10 and supplanted them in third place in the Metro division. Although the general consensus in the locker room was to simply play better, the missed opportunity to potentially get within four points of the Metro lead was felt. 

“It’s tough. We play them tonight and two days from now. I think it was an opportunity for us to make it interesting in the standings.” Jimmy Vesey said. “I don’t think it was our best game.”

The Rangers’ next game will be the completion of the home-and-home series against the Hurricanes in Carolina on Thursday night. 

Game Notes

  • Tuesday night was the first game back for Rangers’ defenseman Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren missed the last 10 games due to an upper-body injury he suffered on February 25th. New York went 7-3 in his absence. 
  • Carolina came into Tuesday’s contest continuing to try and find a solution to Andrei Svechnikov’s absence. The Hurricane’s third-leading scorer was lost for the season due to a torn ACL he suffered back on March 13th. 
  • New York may have been playing on the ice today, but they also agreed to terms with a top prospect. The team announced they had agreed to a three-year entry-level contract with 2020 fifth-round pick Brett Berard. Berard is expected to play the last 11 games up in Hartford with his college season at Providence College coming to a close. 

For more New York Rangers news, turn to AMNY.com