For the first 49 and a half minutes Tuesday night, the Hurricanes-Rangers game in Madison Square Garden was an absolute slog.
The Rangers held a 1-0 lead thanks to a late first-period tally from Tyler Motte. The Canes held an edge in shots and chances, though Carolina really hadn’t mustered a scoring chance that ever really looked like it threatened New York netminder Igor Shesterkin, who stopped 36 of 39 shots faced by the end of the night.
But then the unlikeliest of Canes broke through, finally, as Jalen Chatfield came flying down the wing, collected a crisp pass from Derek Stepan and blasted a snipe past Shesterkin into the the roof of the net to make it 1-1. It was just Chatfield’s sixth goal of the year, but one Carolina so desperately needed.
This is a heckuva shot. Perfectly placed.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) March 22, 2023
Something like this had to happen to beat Shesterkin tonight, and fortunately for Carolina, it did. pic.twitter.com/P2ybitWiwp
But after all that clawing and digging to try and get back into it, the Rangers regained their lead mere seconds later. Just 31 seconds after Chatfield’s equalizer, Kaapo Kakko got to the net and beat Frederik Andersen, who stopped 29 of 31 shots faced, to make it 2-1.
The Canes didn’t let the air out of the tires, though, as Carolina continued to control possession and shots. And it paid off in the form of a Stefan Noesen goal, as Noesen camped out in front of goal and finished off a great pass from Jesper Fast to make it a 2-2 game with just over nine minutes left to play.
Jordan Staal gets to the puck first in the corner, gets it across to Jesper Fast, and #23 finishes in front.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) March 22, 2023
Whether it's Noesen or Martinook, we know this line is all about working hard down low, and it pays off here. pic.twitter.com/2SeYvnalE4
And seven minutes later, the Canes took their first lead of the night in the most important minutes of the game. Brent Burns skated the puck forward and after a nice shot fake fed it to Teuvo Teravainen out front, who slotted it past Shesterkin to somehow put the Hurricanes up 3-2 despite the 50 minutes of pushing and pressing from the visitors.
Excellent job by Jesperi Kotkaniemi to buy time and space, but look at the deception by #8.— Walt Ruff (@WaltRuff) March 22, 2023
He gets three Rangers defenders to buy that he's shooting the puck and instead sneaks one to Teravainen for a big, big, big tally. pic.twitter.com/GXNCZc3AjU
It was a great win for the Hurricanes against a great Metro foe, as Carolina continues its push to win the division and avoid these exact Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
It wasn’t always the prettiest, but the result at the end was two points. And that’s all that matters.