Raleigh | Two hours into Match 7, Igor Shesterkin was watching the end of the red tunnel in front of the 123rd section of the PNC Arena. Prior to this crucial game, the goalkeeper had yet to beat Hurricanes ice in this series.
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The 26-year-old Russian closed his eyes and moved his head. He was in his bubble in a moment of complete silence. After a few hours, a normally very noisy plaza was transformed into a library.
Billed as a fortress after seven wins in seven playoffs, the PNC Arena collapsed at the worst time.
Chesterkin and the New York Rangers continued their journey by eliminating the Carolina Hurricanes with an unmistakable victory 6 to 2.
There will therefore be an Eastern Final match between Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup champions. A duel of masked men between Shesterkin and Andrech Vasilevsky.
In the morning, coach Gerard Gallant said he would only give a 25-second speech to his players before this match. It is no longer the time to talk, but the time to play.
The Rangers have accomplished their mission. They broke Kanz’s back with two powerful goals early in the first half. Adam Fox and Chris Kreider in turn frustrate Ante Ranta. At the top of the NHL in shortening this season at 88%, the Hurricanes did not maintain that pace in the playoffs at 74% (13 goals on 50 occasions).
For the fifth time since the start of the playoffs, the Blues avoided elimination. There are a lot of personalities in this club. And a young man like Alexis Lafrenière shows he’s not shy during the big matches. Like the Sixth Duel, he got help as well as spend valuable time in enemy territory.
What we noticed…
I found the villain
Jacob Trueba smiled in the morning when a colleague from New York asked him if he’d been happy to play the villain since the start of the series. “I don’t think about it, I play like I’ve always played,” he said. But when I look at my Twitter account, I can see that people don’t always write nice words about me. Truba did nothing to expand his circle of friends in North Carolina. In the first period, he surprised winger Seth Jarvis with a strong check. But it was legal. Jarvis, who was injured in the upper body, possibly due to a concussion, is not back in the game.
Kreider is always present
Chris Kreider carried the winners’ attack on his shoulders with a double. He scored his seventh and eighth goals in the playoffs. It was his 14th and 15th career goal when his team faced disqualification. This is a high percentage among active NHL players. Alexander Ovechkin follows with 13. Marc Messier, the former Edmonton Oilers & Rangers star, holds the record with 16 goals in such a situation.
Ranta gets hurt
For the second match in a row, Ante Ranta gave way to Pyotr Kochetkov. The Finn sustained a knee or thigh injury after moving to his right in the second half. A little earlier, Kreider bumped into him. However, it wasn’t the great wing’s fall that caused the injury.