If you thought this series would be any different for the Carolina Hurricanes, you are sorely mistaken.
In a direct mirror to what happened in the first round, the Hurricanes put together a 2-0 series lead and then subsequently lost the next two games on the road in demoralizing fashion.
Maybe it would feel different if the power play could do anything — 0 for 2 tonight — or if the Canes’ forwards could generate consistent high-danger looks, but that hasn’t happened on the road.
Sure, there have been close calls with missed shots and near-connections, but until those chances are going in, they don’t mean much of anything.
The Hurricanes have been a team that is as different as night and day when at home or on the road, but lucky for them, they have home-ice advantage.
The game had pace out of the gate, with Carolina looking like they had their legs under them, but an early penalty put them on their heels.
They managed to kill that call, but it was clear that the Ranger’s power play was feeling confident.
Then Max Domi got drilled by Jacob Trouba near the boards and Steven Lorentz came to his teammates defense and dropped the gloves.
However, Lorentz was called for an instigator and New York scored on the power play.
And soon after that, a comically bad failed clear led to Adam Fox deflecting in a Ryan Lindgren blast.
And when you’re facing the likely Vezina winner in Igor Shesterkin, two goals looks like a much bigger mountain to climb.
But the Hurricanes actually looked a lot better to start the second period.
Teuvo Teravainen had a chance in the slot off a great feed by Seth Jarvis, but he couldn’t put enough behind it and Shesterkin sprawled out to make the save. And then Martin Necas had a wide-open cage on a cross-ice feed and he put it back across the crease.
The chances to score were there, but Carolina just couldn’t capitalize.
And then the Rangers did.
A turnover leads to a 3-on-2 and Antti Raanta couldn’t hold onto the initial shot and nobody is there to help clean up the loose puck.
Raanta was actually solid all game, stopping shorthanded looks in alone, breakaways and multiple dangerous shots, but he just wasn’t getting the support.
Carolina did manage to get on the board midway through the third period as Teravainen sniped one home off a feed by Sebastian Aho.
The sole bright spot of the night was that with that assist, Aho became the Hurricanes’ all-time leader in playoff points with 44.
But any happy feelings were soon squashed by Andrew Copp scoring to restore the three-goal lead.
And that’s how the game would end.
Carolina now hopes that their home supremacy carries over into Game 5 on Thursday night at PNC Arena, because they have given no indication that they can win on the road.