For the first time ever, the Carolina Hurricanes have lost a game seven.
The Canes got completely outplayed by the New York Rangers in PNC Arena Monday night, falling 6-2 as the Rangers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals while the Hurricanes’ season came to an end with their first home loss of these playoffs.
From start to finish, it was a pitiful game seven effort from the Hurricanes. New York scored twice in the first eight minutes, both on the power play, while the Hurricanes couldn’t muster anything with an early man advantage to set the tone for the night.
At no point did it feel like the Canes had a shot to win the game, as the Rangers converted on almost all of their prime chances while Carolina couldn’t really convert on a single one.
Igor Shesterkin was, once again, great in net for the Rangers, stopping 37 of 39 shots faced while making some really nice saves throughout the night. The Canes were forced to play two goalies after an injury to starter Antti Raanta, who saved 16 of 18. Pyotr Kochetkov came in and made nine saves on 12 shots faced.
It was an absolute nightmare of a start for the Hurricanes, as Carolina’s special teams faltered entirely to allow the Rangers to open up a 2-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
Raanta turned the puck over behind the net and Sebastian Aho took a hooking penalty just 1:42 into the game. The Canes killed off 1:58 of the penalty, but Adam Fox wristed one past Raanta to make it 1-0 with two seconds left on Aho’s infraction.
After an empty power play for the Hurricanes, New York went back to the man advantage after Seth Jarvis was laid out by a big hit from Jacob Trouba. Jarvis struggled to get back to the bench and someone came on too early, as the Canes were hit with too many men.
Jarvis did not return to the game after the hit from Trouba.
This time New York tallied quickly on the power play, as Chris Kreider redirected one past Raanta after just 14 seconds. The Canes had another power play later in the first frame, but it was even worse than the first one as the Rangers took their 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Rangers came out in the second period and played a much better 5-on-5 game than they did in the first, as the Hurricanes had no real opportunities to get a goal back. The Canes did have another power play, though the predictable result occurred.
The Canes took another injury blow late in the third period, as an awkward play ended the night for Raanta. Kreider gave Raanta a small shove that forced him out of the crease, and Raanta overstretched himself trying to get back into position and immediately hit the ice in pretty clear pain.
Kochetkov entered and made a nice save off the bat, but he got beat near post by Ryan Strome on a rush shortly after coming in as New York grew its lead to 3-0 before the second break.
The third period was more bad for the Hurricanes, who finally got on the scoreboard but never even thought about making a comeback.
Kreider scored a nasty backhanded breakaway goal to make it 4-0 before Tony DeAngelo kept the Hurricanes from being shutout with a blast on the power play.
But if the Canes had any hope of building some momentum from DeAngelo’s goal it was squandered almost immediately, as Filip Chytil made it 5-1 40 seconds later.
Max Domi added a meaningless goal with 3:47 to play to add to his game seven tallies this season to make it 5-2. Andrew Copp made it 6-2 with an empty netter.
And with that, the Hurricanes’ 2021-22 season came to an end short of the conference finals for the third straight season, though this time it came after the best regular season in the history of the franchise.