Home SPORTS Rangers have no answers after Hurricanes turn up heat in third

Rangers have no answers after Hurricanes turn up heat in third

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Ian Cole says it’s a strength of the Hurricanes to be objective in their self-assessment. After two periods Wednesday night, the conclusion of that objective analysis was obvious: Not good enough.

“They know what we weren’t doing right,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said following his team’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Rangers. “They’re on the bench talking about it.”

Through 40 minutes, the Rangers looked to be on their way to a complete victory in Game 1 of the second-round playoff series. They had dominated the puck, holding the Hurricanes to long stretches without a shot as Carolina’s forecheck game never got going. That it was only a 1-0 lead was mostly down to Antti Raanta’s strong performance in the net for Carolina.

Heading into the third period, Brind’Amour changed up his forward lines, but he later gave credit to a mentality shift for what became a push the Rangers couldn’t overcome.

“I think it wasn’t the changes,” he said. “It was just the attitude, the way we played that period. When you’re down, you know you have to up your game. ”

The numbers from the last 20 minutes of regulation, via Natural Stat Trick, show the Hurricanes led in shots (10-4), scoring chances (13-6), and high-danger chances (6-3).

When Nino Niederreiter and Sebastian Aho both whacked the iron, it looked as if the Rangers might manage an escape. But this was an unrelenting wave.

The forecheck that had been missing early on was there, in spades. The Rangers didn’t get their first shot of the third period on Raanta until about the 11-minute mark. The puck was living in their own end.

“I didn’t think we got it deep enough,” Mika Zibanejad said. “We got out of our zone but they regrouped pretty fast and they’re a quick team. That’s a really good team we’re playing. Let’s not forget about that. ”

No one will now.

Not after Aho’s late goal tied the game and not after Cole won it for the Hurricanes in overtime. Aho described Carolina’s room as “pretty confident” during the second intermission, well aware the Rangers had missed their chances to blow the game open.

“We knew it was a one-goal game,” Aho said. “It wasn’t 4-0 or anything. We knew we were right there, it was only gonna take one shot to tie the game. ”

Nothing about the way Carolina played in the third period came as a surprise. Its forecheck was a focus heading into the series, and the Rangers were certainly aware of it. For 40 minutes, they stymied it.

But in the end, that wasn’t long enough. By the time the third intermission came around, the momentum was with Carolina.

“The message in the locker room was just keep doing what we did in the third,” Aho said.

That turned out to be plenty easy.

.

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