Posts Tagged ‘Second Round’

Nothing is fazing these New York Rangers, not multi-game series deficit nor playing in a building where no road team has won in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Instead, this resilient bunch is carrying an ever-growing confidence straight into the Eastern Conference finals, thanks to another Game 7 win and the latest strong performance from possibly the game’s best goaltender.

Chris Kreider scored twice, Igor Shesterkin was strong in net again and the Rangers ended Carolina’s perfect postseason run at home, beating the Hurricanes 6-2 in the decisive Game 7 of their second-round playoff series Monday night.

Kreider and Adam Fox had first-period power-play goals as the Rangers raced to a quick lead. The Rangers then rode Shesterkin’s latest offense-stymieing performance to win a fifth straight elimination game win in these playoffs.

“Backs against the wall five times now,” Fox said, “and we’ve come through all five.”

Shesterkin — a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for most valuable player — finished with 36 saves and carried the shutout well into the third period.

Now the Rangers are off to a conference final for the first time since 2015, earning a matchup with two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay. New York will host Game 1 of that series Wednesday night.

Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil also scored in what became an unexpected rout, with Andrew Copp adding a late empty-netter. More impressively, the Rangers’ win came in an arena where the Hurricanes had gone 7-0 in the playoffs, including a Game 7 victory to beat Boston in the first round and three meetings in this series.

New York coach Gerard Gallant said Sunday he had a group of players who “have a lot of fun and they believe in themselves.” They looked as if they were doing plenty of both Monday in capping a second straight comeback win from a multi-game deficit.

First, they rallied from a 3-1 down to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game series. Then, after falling in an 0-2 hole against Carolina, New York responded with more resilience, even a stubborn refusal to fade out when down.

Kreider went as far as to throw in a comparison to “cockroaches.”

“We don’t go away, regardless of the score, regardless of where our game is at,” Kreider said.

There were no questions about that Monday night, particularly with Shesterkin holding up against 17 first-period shots. That included one stop from flat on his back on Sebastian Aho near the right post, with Shesterkin snagging the puck between his legs flailing, as if trying to make a snow angel late in the first period.

The Rangers also helped by blocking 25 shots in front of him.

“You’ve got to pay a price to win games in this league, especially against real good teams like that,” Gallant said. ” I love the way our guys are competing and battling. I’ve said 100 times this year, we’re not perfect but we find ways to win.”

Tony DeAngelo finally beat Shesterkin midway through the third period, only to see the Rangers follow with Chytil’s goal just 40 seconds later to push the margin to 5-1.

Max Domi also scored a late goal for the Hurricanes.

But Carolina lost top-line rookie forward Seth Jarvis to a first-period injury after a jarring high hit from Jacob Trouba, and then lost goaltender Antti Raanta to an apparent right-leg injury in the second period in an all-around rough night. Raanta had 16 saves before his injury, while rookie Pyotr Kochetkov allowed three goals on 12 shots in relief.

“Tonight was kind of just some bounces, everyone wasn’t quite there, including myself,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said. “An unfortunate way to end the series — season.”

Carolina’s playoff success had leaned on its home-ice advantage, backed by a rowdy crowd. But its inability to win a single road game in the postseason only shrunk the Hurricanes’ margin for error and turned winning at home into an absolute necessity to keep playing.

As a result, the first and only home stumble proved fatal, a crushing end to a season that saw the division winner, with the third-best record in the NHL, set franchise records for regular-season wins (54) and points (116) with aspirations of winning its second Cup.

“It’s definitely a bummer to have the team — the caliber of team — that we did,” Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin said, “and not go farther.”

NO FIRSTS

The Hurricanes were 6-0 in Game 7s since the former Hartford Whalers relocated to North Carolina in 1997. They were trying to become the first team in NHL history to win seven straight Game 7s.

Carolina was also trying to become the first to win multiple best-of-seven series in the same postseason with zero road wins.

ELIMINATION-GAME PRODUCTION

When Fox scored and assisted on Kreider’s first goal, that pushed him to 10 points in elimination games during this postseason.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, that marks the most by a defenseman in a single postseason, surpassing Ray Bourque in 1980, Ian Turnbull in 1976 and Denis Potvin in 1975.

INJURED CANES

Jarvis was knocked from the game on Trouba’s hit, which sent him sprawling to the ice and left him able only to crawl back to the bench. When he made it there, he was too wobbly to sit on the bench and needed assistance from teammates to get directed into the locker room.

Making matters worse, the Hurricanes took a penalty for too many men on the ice while trying to sub for Jarvis, leading to Kreider’s first goal.

Ranta went down with 4:23 left in the second period when he extended his right leg in a split to make a stop on Mika Zibanejad. He almost went forward and landed face down on the ice. He was eventually helped off the ice by teammates Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter, not putting any weight on his right leg.

Afterward, coach Rod Brind’Amour said Raanta’s injury would have prevented him from playing the next series, had Carolina won.

Filip Chytil scored twice in the second period and the New York Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on Saturday night to force a deciding Game 7 in their second-round playoff series.

Tyler Motte and Mika Zibanejad scored in the first period to get New York started, Artemi Panarin tallied in the third and Adam Fox had two assists to help the Rangers set a franchise record with their sixth straight home win this postseason.

Igor Shesterkin stopped 37 shots for New York, which has not lost at home since a three-OT defeat to Pittsburgh in Game 1 of the first round. The Rangers won their fourth straight elimination game, including Games 5, 6 and 7 against the Penguins.

Brady Skjei had a goal and an assist, and Vincent Trochek also scored for the Hurricanes. Carolina fell to 0-6 on the road this postseason — becoming the first team in NHL history to lose its first six road games in a postseason — to go along with a 7-0 mark at home.

Antti Raanta was pulled after giving up three goals on 13 shots. Pyotr Kochetkov came on and finished with 10 saves.

Game 7 is back in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday night. The winner will open the Eastern Conference finals at home against Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Darren Helm scored the winner in the final seconds of regulation, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 on Friday night.

The Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Final against the Edmonton Oilers, who ended the Calgary Flames’ season Thursday.

Colorado superstar Nathan MacKinnon acknowledged the Avalanche have a difficult task ahead of them in containing the Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“It’s going to be tough,” the center told TNT postgame, according to the Denver Post’s Ryan O’Halloran. “I’ve been watching like everybody else. … Probably the two best players in the world right now. It’s going to (require) a full team effort to stop them.”

Colorado will play in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001-02, when the club lost to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup the season before that but have since lost four times in the first round and six times in the second round – including in each of the previous three campaigns.

Helm’s clincher Friday came 13 years to the day after he buried a winner in overtime while with the Red Wings to send Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Edmonton Oilers cemented their place in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2006 after defeating the Calgary Flames 5-4 in overtime in a chaotic Game 5 on Thursday night.

Oilers star Leon Draisaitl led the way with four points, while Connor McDavid ended the Flames’ season with his overtime winner.

“I was bad all night,” McDavid said. “I was riding the coattails of my teammates. They gave me a great opportunity to get it in overtime. I’m just so happy to contribute in this one.”

McDavid only had one point in the high-scoring contest, but it was the goal that mattered most.

“The best player won the series,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

The contest wasn’t short on drama. The two teams set an NHL record for the fastest four goals scored in playoff history after each club lit the lamp twice in 1:11 during the second period.

Flames forward Blake Coleman had a goal disallowed in the third period due to a kicking motion, denying Calgary a late lead.

“Depends what you call a distinct kicking motion,” Sutter said of the call. “If somebody is on the ground, and you lift your foot up and kick them in the head, that’s a distinct kicking motion. If you slide your foot on the ground it’s not a distinct kicking motion.”

Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring in a quiet first period before Mikael Backlund doubled the Flames’ lead early in the middle frame. The teams combined for six more goals in the second period, with Darnell NurseJesse PuljujarviZach Hyman, and Evan Bouchard contributing for the Oilers and Johnny Gaudreau and Calle Jarnkrok finding the back of the net for the Flames.

“Get your chin up and your chest out and walk out proud,” Sutter said of his message to his players, according to Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson. “They did a hell of a lot more than anybody said they’d do, (to be) quite honest.”

Both goaltenders posted sub-.900 save percentages in the wild contest. Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves on 35 shots, while Mike Smith stopped 32 of 36.

The Oilers will either face the Colorado Avalanche or St. Louis Blues in the conference finals.

The Carolina Hurricanes controlled long stretches of play, stayed aggressive, and even got a breakthrough in a two-month struggle on the power play.

It was enough to secure another home playoff victory. Now they can turn their attention to trying to put away the New York Rangers, too.

Vincent Trocheck buried a shorthanded goal, Teuvo Teravainen had a rare power-play score and the Hurricanes beat the Rangers 3-1 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round series.

It was part of yet another strong home performance for the Metropolitan Division champions, who improved to 7-0 at home in the postseason.

“It was kind of the game that I’ve been waiting for,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We’ve been playing OK, but tonight was good all the way around — more obviously how we want to play.”

Andrei Svechnikov also scored, beating Igor Shesterkin with a backhander on a breakaway midway through the third period as the Hurricanes protected their Game 5 lead.

The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Final to face reigning the two-time Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning by winning Game 6 in New York on Saturday, though they are 0-5 away from PNC Arena so far despite tying for the NHL lead in regular-season road wins.

Now Carolina faces the challenge of putting away a team that has been resilient, even stubborn, when facing a series deficit. The Rangers rallied from a 3-1 hole to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game first-round series, then lost the first two games against Carolina before fighting back to even at home.

“The way I look at it, we’ve played a lot of must-win games lately, and we’ve done a pretty good job,” said New York’s Ryan Strome, who had a second-period goal negated by a successful offsides challenge from Carolina.

“We’ve played some desperate hockey. … We seem to like being in this position a little bit.”

The Hurricanes sustained their aggressive style while giving the Rangers little room to operate, finishing with a 34-17 shot advantage to keep the pressure on Shesterkin while also easing the burden on Antti Raanta (16 saves) in Carolina’s net.

Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal for New York, winning a first-period faceoff and then drifting to the left side for the putaway just six seconds into the man advantage. Shesterkin — a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for most valuable player — finished with 31 saves against a steady stream of work.

POWER PLAY

Carolina had been just 9 of 89 (10.1%) on the power play since late March. Yet after an 0-for-9 start in the series, the Hurricanes finally broke through with quick and crisp puck movement.

Rookie Seth Jarvis — who left briefly in the second with a bleeding mouth after being hit by Strome’s follow-through on a shot — zipped the puck to Teravainen for the left-side putaway to beat Shesterkin at 9:47 of the second for the 2-1 lead. It marked Carolina’s first goal with the man advantage since the final minutes of Game 6 in the first-round win against Boston.

“We had just kind of talked after the last game,” Teravainen said. “Just reset and start over and just we don’t have to think too much (of what’s) behind, keep thinking what’s going forward.”

ANOTHER SHORTIE

Carolina’s first goal came on special teams, too, though this on a perfectly executed short-handed rush off a turnover.

Jordan Staal carried the puck on the left side until Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller laid out to stop a pass, but Staal lifted the puck off the ice and over Miller’s legs to a charging-in Trocheck on the right side for the 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first.

“The pass that Jordan made was incredible,” Trocheck said.

Carolina, which had a short-handed goal from defenseman Brendan Smith in the Game 2 win, has two short-handed goals in the same postseason series for the first time since 1992.

NEGATED

Strome appeared to have given the Rangers a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the second when he collected his own entry pass on the boards and beat Raanta. But on the review, linemate Andrew Copp was clearly across the blue line as he tried to tag back up.

“It definitely sucks, but that’s the way it goes,” Strome said. “It’s a rule. It’s cut and dry. It happens.”

LONG RUN

Carolina’s seven-game home winning streak is the longest in a postseason since Chicago won its first seven games in 2014, a run that ended in the conference finals.

SIREN SOUNDERS

Retired American soccer great Clint Dempsey sounded the pregame “storm warning” siren for the Hurricanes to take the ice.

NASCAR driver Harrison Burton sounded the siren for the first intermission, followed by North Carolina State football coach Dave Doeren — whose Wolfpack play across the parking lot from PNC Arena in Carter-Finley Stadium — for the second intermission.

Tyler Bozak and the St. Louis Blues experienced just about every emotion imaginable over the course of a win-or-season-ends game in which they fell behind by three goals.

Ultimately, they landed on this improbable one — elation.

Bozak scored 3:38 into overtime and the Blues fended off elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, overcoming a pair of deficits in a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

Bozak, a fourth-line center, unleashed a shot from near the blueline that got past Darcy Kuemper, capping a remarkable comeback for St. Louis.

“It was an amazing hockey game,” Bozak said. “I’m sure everyone that was watching thought the same thing.”

Robert Thomas had two goals, including the tying tally with 56 seconds left in regulation, for a resilient Blues team. It’s the latest game-tying goal for the Blues when facing elimination, according to NHL Stats. Vladimir Tarasenko and Justin Faulk also scored, Nick Leddy had four assists and Pavel Buchnevich had two.

They never doubted — even down 3-0 late in the second period and 4-3 late in the third.

“You’ve got nothing to lose, you might as well throw it all out there,” Thomas said. “That was our mentality.”

The comeback offset a hat trick from Nathan MacKinnon, who looked like he might have just turned in a signature moment with goal No. 3. He went end-to-end, working his way around Blues defenseman Leddy with nifty stick work and lifting a shot over goaltender Ville Husso for a 4-3 lead. It was his second career postseason hat trick.

Hats hit the ice.

“Doesn’t matter,” MacKinnon said of his feat. “Looking to get a win.”

Thomas tied it up with Husso on the bench for an extra skater, setting the stage for Bozak, who played college hockey down the road at the University of Denver.

To think, he didn’t play much down the stretch of the third period, with the Blues rolling out just three lines. When he got his chance in OT, he made the most of it.

“There’s definitely no such thing as a bad shot,” Bozak said. “So just tried to get it through the traffic and it went in. So that’s awesome.”

Game 6 is Friday in St. Louis.

The Blues have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take a playoff series twice in their history — 1999 against Phoenix and 1991 versus Detroit.

They’re looking to write another chapter.

“This team’s come from behind quite a bit this year in games so they don’t give up,” Blues coach Craig Berube said.

Captain Gabriel Landeskog also scored and Bowen Byram had two assists for the Avalanche, who were on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference final for the first time since 2002.

Instead, they have to wait — and wonder. The second-round has proven to be a big hurdle for the Avalanche. They’ve been eliminated at this stage in each of the last three postseasons.

“You sulk for three minutes and you move on. Simple as that,” Landeskog said. “It’s playoff hockey. It’s not supposed to be easy.”

Husso made 30 saves for St. Louis. He took over in Game 3 when Jordan Binnington was injured following a collision between Nazem Kadri and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen that caused Kadri to crash into Binnington.

Afterward, Kadri received racist death threats on social media, which led to increased security to protect him. He responded in Game 4 with a hat trick. On Wednesday, fans along the boards held up signs that read “Stand with Naz.”

Kuemper stopped 25 shots.

MacKinnon came out flying in the first period, taking five shots and scoring twice to give the Colorado an early 2-0 lead. Those were the first two goals of the series for MacKinnon, who has seven in the postseason.

The speedy MacKinnon also had an assist to give him 82 career playoff points. He became the fourth player in franchise history with 80 or more postseason points, joining the company of Sakic (188), Peter Forsberg (159) and Peter Stastny (81).

After Landeskog made it 3-0 just over 4 minutes into the second period, Tarasenko knocked in his first goal of the series 10 1/2 minutes later to jumpstart the Blues.

“We got on our heels a little bit,” said MacKinnon, whose team is 4-0 on the road in these playoffs. “We wanted it so bad, I guess. … Win the third, go to the conference finals, whatever. It’s one period. Got to keep our game going, stay aggressive. That’s what we’ll do.”

BERUBE’S TAKE

Berube opened his pregame talk with reporters Wednesday by condemning the racist threats made toward Kadri.

“In no way is it acceptable by the St. Louis Blues or anybody else, for him to go through that,” Berube said. “Being a Native American myself, I’ve heard it all. I’ve been around it. It’s not a good thing.”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has suffered through plenty of heartache in Edmonton.

The top pick at the 2011 draft missed the playoffs in seven of his first eight NHL seasons as the Oilers repeatedly fumbled and bumbled their way through what must have felt like a never-ending rebuild.

After a stunning turn of events midway through the third period on Tuesday night, Nugent-Hopkins rose to the occasion when he was needed most.

Nugent-Hopkins scored his second goal of the game with 3:27 left in regulation, and the Oilers beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the second-round playoff series.

“The main thing was that we had to keep pushing,” Nugent-Hopkins said after Rasmus Andersson scored short-handed from 150 feet away as Calgary rallied all the way back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game. “Stuff like that happens, it’s hockey. Bounces happen.

“There was no quit.”

Edmonton interim head coach Jay Woodcroft credited Nugent-Hopkins, who was playing just the 32nd playoff game of his 11-season career, for stepping up with the team wobbling.

“It’s inspiring,” said Woodcroft, whose Oilers are now one win from making the Western Conference final for the first time since 2006. “There’s room for greatness from everybody on our team.

“Tonight was Ryan’s moment.”

Evander Kane scored his NHL-leading 11th and 12th goals of the postseason, and Zach Hyman added a goal for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl added three assists and Mike Smith made 29 saves.

Connor McDavid also had two assists. He has 25 points in 11 playoff games for the Oilers, who earned a third straight victory over their provincial rival.

Andersson, Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary. Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

“We all believe in this group,” Andersson said. “We’ve been a good team all year and we’ve been strong on home ice. We’ve just got to go home and focus on winning one game and take it from there.

“Obviously we’re in a tough situation.”

Calgary will look to stave off elimination on Thursday at home in Game 5.

After trailing 3-0 after the first period and 3-2 through two periods, Calgary tied the game in the third on an Edmonton power play when Andersson fired a 150-foot clearing attempt from his own end that somehow fooled Smith at 10:56.

With the Oilers wavering, Nugent-Hopkins poked in his fourth goal of the playoffs from in front of Markstrom.

Andersson then took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking with 2:40 left to effectively kill off the game before Kane iced it by scoring into an empty net.

“I can laugh now, right?” a relieved Smith said. “I don’t think there’s been a time in my career where I’ve lost the puck, where I have no idea where it went.

“You don’t want that to happen … ever. It was an unbelievable goal by Nuge at the end there … a win is a win.”

Edmonton also held a 2-1 series lead in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings only to play what the Oilers described as their worst performance of the month in a 4-0 loss. This time, they took a stranglehold on the series without their best effort.

“Every game you play in the playoffs, you gain experience,” Smith said. “There are ebbs and flows to a game, to a series, and they are all learning experiences.”

Markstrom, who had allowed 14 goals in the series before getting pulled after two periods with Calgary trailing Sunday’s Game 3 by a 4-0 score, played the puck behind his own net on the first shift, but put it right on Nugent-Hopkins’ stick. He scored his third.

The goal was the third-fastest in Oilers’ playoff history, just short of McDavid (19 seconds in 2020) and Fernando Pisani (16 seconds in 2006).

One of three finalists for the Vézina Trophy as the NHL’s top goalie, Markstrom recovered to deny Darnell Nurse on a chance a couple minutes later before Smith was at full stretch on a Johnny Gaudreau one-time chance.

Calgary winger Tyler Toffoli then took a tripping penalty and the Oilers made the Flames pay when Hyman outmuscled a hobbled Chris Tanev — back in the lineup for the first time since Game 6 of the opening round despite a suspected upper-body injury — in tight, scoring his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs at 9:53.

The Flames, who topped the Pacific Division in the regular season, pushed back with a couple of decent shifts, but Kane, who was coming off a natural hat trick in Game 3, made it 3-0 with 66 seconds remaining in the period on a shot that nicked blueliner Nikita Zadorov.

Calgary showed some life on the power play in the second with Kane off for slashing. Lindholm eventually picked the top corner for his fifth goal at 9:04 after the Oilers twice failed to clear the defensive zone.

Backlund got the Flames within one at 3-2 just 36 seconds later when he stepped past Duncan Keith and fired his fourth past Smith.

Smith made a good stop on a Lindholm power-play chance early in the third before Edmonton got its second man-advantage with 11 minutes left in regulation.

Markstrom kept his team within striking distance with a terrific pad stop on Draisaitl, who became the first player in NHL history to register three-plus points in four straight playoff games with an assist on the Oilers’ empty-net goal.

The New York Rangers got the kind of strong, all-around effort from the start they needed and stormed past the Carolina Hurricanes.

Andrew Copp had a goal and two assists, and Frank Vatrano and Adam Fox each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers beat the Hurricanes 4-1 in Game 4 Tuesday night, evening the second-round series.

Mika Zibanejad also scored, Ryan Lindgren had two assists and Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots for the Rangers, who won their fifth straight at home in the postseason. In the series, New York won two at home after opening with two losses at Carolina.

“Everyone’s kind of contributing and has been over the course of the playoffs,” Copp said. “It’s not just one line, one D-pairing, it’s throughout the lineup. … Just trying to build off some of the momentum we’ve created these last two games.”

The Rangers have won two straight against the Hurricanes after losing eight of the previous nine meetings, including a three-game sweep in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoff bubble and three of four in the regular season.

“We’re confident,” Copp said. “We get two games where we win, we play well, we give up two goals total. Now the reverse of the talk of you guys is on them now. We just got to kind of block all that out and stay with our game. Guys are feeling better about themselves and we got to ride this momentum into Carolina.”

Rangers coach Gerard Gallant liked what he saw from his team, calling it ‘close’ to one of the most complete games by his team this postseason.

“We had a little bit of a letdown in part of the second and little bit in the third, too,” he said. “But for the most part we did a real good job.”

Teuvo Teravainen scored and Antti Raanta finished with 24 saves for the Hurricanes, who fell to 0-5 on the road in the postseason to go along with their 6-0 mark at home.

Carolina has scored just six goals in the series, including one in each of the last two games. The Hurricanes were 0 for 2 on the power play to fall to 0 for 9 against the Rangers.

“I am confident eventually they are going to find their way to the back of the net,” Carolina’s Sebastian Aho said. “We just have to find ways to score. We got to score on the power play.”

Game 5 is in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Thursday night, and Game 6 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Teravainen spoiled Shesterkin’s shutout bid when he scored his third of the playoffs at 6:33 of the third, pulling the Hurricanes within 3-1. However, Copp scored from the right side with just under nine minutes remaining.

There was more pushing and shoving between players in the closing seconds of the game, with the Rangers’ Ryan Reaves and Carolina’s Max Domi being separated by officials as they exchanged words.

Trailing 2-0, Carolina got its first power play midway through the second period, but couldn’t convert. About a minute into the Hurricanes’ advantage, the Rangers had a 2-on-1, short-handed chance but Raanta made a sprawling save on Zibanejad.

The Rangers pushed their lead to 3-0 with 3:12 left in the middle period as Lindgren fired a shot that Raanta stopped. However, as the puck trickled through his pads, Zibanejad swooped in behind him and knocked it in for his fifth of the playoffs.

Shesterkin made a spectacular glove save going from right to left on Brett Pesce 1:20 into the game on the Hurricanes’ first shot on goal, drawing a big roar from the home crowd that was buzzing even before the puck drop.

The Rangers were unhappy with a fight that broke out at the end of Game 3 on Sunday between Lindgren and Domi. New York coach Gerard Gallant was also seen yelling at Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

In this one, Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba delivered a hard hit on Domi along the side boards as the Hurricanes forward was falling to the ice. Carolina’s Steven Lorentz skated into Trouba and the two dropped gloves with less than 8 1/2 minutes left in the first. Lorentz drew a 10-minute misconduct and a minor for instigating in addition to the fighting majors he and Trouba received.

Vatrano took advantage as he fired a one-timer off a pass from Copp past Raanta with 6:29 left. It was his third of the playoffs.

Fox made it 2-0 just 2:11 later as he deflected a shot by Lindgren from the top of the left circle past Raanta.

Minutes later, DeAngelo — the target of several derisive chants from Rangers fans in the opening period — and Reaves were separated as they were jawing at each other.

RECORDS

The Rangers’ five straight home playoff wins matched a franchise record accomplished four times previously. The last was during their Stanley Cup championship run in 1994.

CLIMBING LISTS

Aho got his 26th career postseason assist, breaking a tie with Ron Francis for the most in franchise history. His 44th postseason point moved him past Eric Staal into sole possession of the top of the franchise scoring list. … Teravainen got his 19th goal to move past Francis into sole possession of fifth place in franchise playoff history. His 42nd point tied Kevin Dineen for the fifth-most points in franchise playoff history.

Nazem Kadri had the last laugh.

Kadri scored three goals, including two during a four-goal second period barrage, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference series.

Kadri’s outburst came after he received racist death threats on social media following a first-period collision with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington in Game 3 on Saturday night.

“I wanted to come out tonight and really put a mark on this game, especially after what happened,” Kadri said. “I tried to do that as best as possible. Sometimes you’ve got to be patient and you’ve got to wait. I was able to strike early in the second period and was able to get the mojo going.”

Kadri, who was booed heavily every time he touched the puck, skated towards the glass and appeared to salute the Blues fans after each of his first two goals, inciting even more jeers. It was his first career playoff hat trick.

“I know that they’re booing me and what-not, but that’s what being a fan is,” Kadri said. “As a home team and a home player, you want the fans on your side and heckling the other team, as long as it’s within the guidelines. I’ve got no issues with that and I know what was said isn’t a reflection on every single fan in St. Louis. I understand that and I want to make that clear. But for those that wasted their time sending messages like that, I feel sorry for them.”

Kadri said he heard no racial taunts from the crowd on Monday.

“Naz’s focused, he’s a big boy, he’s a tough guy, and he’s a resilient guy,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “And we’re proud of him as a group and we have a task that we’re trying to complete and Naz understands that and it’s unfortunate he has to deal with it and he knows that we’re all with him and that’s what we care about.”

Erik Johnson and Devon Toews also scored and Mikko Rantanen added an empty netter for the Avalanche, while Darcy Kuemper made 17 saves.

David Perron scored twice and Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Ville Husso, making his first start since Game 3 of the first round against Minnesota, made 31 saves.

Game 5 is Wednesday in Colorado.

“We got outskated for most of the game 5-on-5,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “It’s pretty simple. I don’t know why. We got outskated. They outskated us. Got to every loose puck. Lost a lot of puck battles.”

The Avalanche took control of the game — and the series — with three goals in less than a two-minute span early in the second period.

Johnson got it going with his first of the playoffs at the 2:44 mark. Kadri gave the Avalanche the lead with his first at 4:07 and Toews scored 19 seconds later to make it 3-1.

Kadri said Berube’s comments after Game 3 were part of his motivation. When asked about the collision following the game, Berube referred to Kadri’s past disciplinary action from the league office.

“He made some comments that I wasn’t a fan of,” Kadri said. “I guess he’s never heard of bulletin-board material.”

Kadri gave Perron a late shove a minute later, causing retaliation by Perron and Buchnevich that landed them both in the box with minor penalties. Colorado did not score on the two-man advantage, but Kadri buried his second goal moments after it ended to make it 4-1.

Perron and Buchnevich each scored power play goals late in the second to bring the Blues back within one, but Kadri’s goal midway through the third scuttled the comeback attempt.

“It was awesome,” Johnson said of Kadri’s hat trick. “I felt so good for him. You know, imagine being in his situation, it can’t be a fun thing. Like I said, no human being should actually receive that type of treatment, especially with a hockey game. … I think he liked being the villain tonight and he certainly stepped up for us.”

Perron gave the Blues a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game and they escaped the first period with the lead despite getting outshot 15-3. Husso made several tough saves drawing chants of “HUSS!” from the crowd.

“I’m not sure we ever had control of the game, even though we scored first,” Perron said. “We didn’t make them defend hard enough. We had some pushes, but not nearly consistent enough to win a hockey game.”

EXTRA SECURITY

St. Louis police are investigating the threats made towards Kadri. The NHL told the AP on Monday that it is working with the St. Louis Police Department to employ enhanced security procedures both at the arena and in the hotel.

ROAD WARRIORS

Colorado is 4-0 on the road this postseason and is the only team without a loss away from home. The streak ties the second-longest postseason-opening road winning streak in franchise history with the 2001 team. The longest streak is a 7-0 start by the 1999 team.

NOTES: Blues D Torey Krug skated with the team during the morning skate for the first time since sustaining a lower body injury in Game 3 against Minnesota. There is no update on his return. … Avalanche C Alex Newhook played in his first playoff game this year and got an assist on Johnson’s goal. … Blues F Vladimir Tarasenko played in his 88th career playoff game, moving him into a tie with Jaden Schwartz for fifth-most in franchise history. … The Blues recalled G Charlie Lindgren from Springfield, its AHL affiliate, under emergency circumstances on Sunday to back up Husso.

The Tampa Bay Lightning completed their second-round sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers with a 2-0 Game 4 victory Monday night.

Veteran forward Pat Maroon scored the game-winner in the third period while Andrei Vasilevskiy pitched a stunning 49-save shutout. Ondrej Palat sealed the deal with an empty-netter.

“We didn’t want to waste that game that (Vasilevskiy) played,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos told reporters postgame, according to team beat writer Chris Krenn.

The Bolts thought they opened the scoring twice in the second period, but both goals were called back after review.

The victory marked the Lightning’s first sweep under head coach Jon Cooper and 10th straight series win. Only the Montreal Canadiens (13 from 1976 to 1980) and New York Islanders (19 from 1980 to 1984) won more consecutive series.

Tampa Bay pulled off the sweep despite missing star forward Brayden Point, who was injured in Game 7 of its first-round clash against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“I think we’re closer than ever, but we got swept. There’s another level we’ve got to climb. We’re still climbing,” Panthers interim head coach Andrew Brunette said, per team reporter Jameson Olive. “I believed that we were ready for that next step, but unfortunately we fell short.”

The Panthers controlled 51.8% of the expected goals and 57.9% at five-on-five throughout the series, according to Natural Stat Trick. However, the outstanding Vasilevskiy allowed only three goals on 154 shots, while the Lightning scored 13.

Vasilevskiy secured his sixth career series-clinching shutout, surpassing Clint Benedict and Chris Osgood (both 5) for the most in league history.

“I think it was our best game this series, but it wasn’t enough,” Florida captain Aleksander Barkov said.

Cooper made sure to give the Panthers some props.

“People are going to sit here and say, ‘What happened to Florida?’ No – a bounce here, a bounce there and it’s 2-2 and we’re going back to Florida at some point,” he said, according to Krenn. “Guys are exhausted – and it was only a four-game series.”

Since the 2004-05 lockout, only five Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams advanced past the second round, while only two won the Stanley Cup, per Sportsnet. The past four Presidents’ Trophy winners all lost four straight games leading up to their elimination.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow. Getting swept is tough,” Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said, according to Olive. “It hurts. It stings. There’s no doubt about it.”

The back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions will face either the New York Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final.