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Svechnikov’s hat trick puts Canes one game away

Thanks to the first playoff hat trick in franchise history, and a great game from Petr Mrazek, the Hurricanes will have a chance to go for the sweep tomorrow night.

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

So far, the questions about whether or not the Canes could solve what plagued them in their regular season series with the New York Rangers have been answered with a resounding yes. Thanks to a trio of goals from Andrei Svechnikov Monday, the first playoff hat trick in franchise history, the Canes find themselves up 2-0 and on the brink of advancing after a 4-1 win.

Jordan Martinook scored the Canes’ other goal, and Petr Mrazek was fantastic, making 23 saves on 24 Rangers shots, several of the dazzling variety. Sebastian Aho assisted on all three of Svechnikov’s goals, and Sami Vatanen picked up a pair of helpers as well. Discipline was much better, with the Canes only giving the Rangers one more power play after visiting the sin bin three times in the first period, surrendering a 5-on-3 tally.

The Canes were dominant for long stretches of this one, simply overwhelming the Rangers with their forecheck and not allowing them to get much of anything going.

The penalty parade from game one seemed it might continue early, as the Canes got the game’s first power play just 16 seconds into the game with Pavel Buchnevich sitting for cross checking.

After coming up empty on the power play, the Canes didn’t get quite as early of a lead in this one, but still made it 1-0 just 4:32 into the game. Coming into the series, it was the Rangers’ transition game that drew the accolades, but the Canes struck off the rush to open this game’s scoring, with Svechnikov burying a beautiful shot near side on Lundqvist.

About four minutes after Svechnikov’s goal, it appeared the Rangers would tie it, as the Canes left Brett Howden wide open in the dead slot. Mrazek came up with a save of the year candidate, however, flashing the leather to keep the Canes in front with a save of the year candidate.

The Canes’ penalty killers, coming off a busy game one, got a big challenge about halfway through the first as penalties to Haydn Fleury and Sebastian Aho gave the Rangers 1:22 of a 5-on-3, and New York tied the game with just seconds left on the first penalty, as Artemi Panarin zipped home a cross-ice feed from Ryan Strome to make it 1-1.

The Canes took another penalty with about four minutes left in the first, and, following a shorthanded save by Lundqvist, Mrazek came up with another big glove save on Mika Zibanejad to keep it tied.

The Canes came out flying to start the second and struck twice barely a minute apart to take a 3-1 lead less than three minutes into the middle frame.

Svechnikov blasted a shot home from the top of the circle for his second of the game right at the start of an early-period power play, and the team followed that up with a strong forechecking shift from the fourth line, as Martinook cashed in a feed from Morgan Geekie on the doorstep to put Carolina up by a pair. The assist was Geekie’s first career playoff point.

The second period may have been the Canes’ best of the series so far, as the team’s relentless forecheck and ability to roll four lines hemmed in and frustrated the Rangers for long stretches.

The Rangers got an opportunity to halve their deficit with an early third-period power play, but the Canes came up with an excellent kill.

After the Canes smothered the Rangers for most of the period, Svechnikov came up with the dagger and first hat trick of his career, burying a beautiful pass from Aho on a two-on-one rush to make it a 4-1 game.

Despite New York trailing by multiple goals for all of it, the Canes outshot the Rangers 16-7 in the final period, aided by some late frustration penalties from the Blueshirts.

The Canes will go for the sweep tomorrow with an 8 p.m. puck drop for game three, their first as the “away” team in the series.