Cole nets winner in OT, Hurricanes take Game 1 from Rangers

Raanta makes 27 saves and earns fourth playoff win

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
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Peter Koutroumpis (@pksport)

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RALEIGH, NC – It just didn’t feel the same.

At least for the first 40 minutes anyway.

Trailing, eventually catching up, and then winning in overtime, the Carolina Hurricanes rallied for a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

Once again, goaltender Antti Raanta was solid as a rock, making 27 saves and kept the Canes close to literally take Game 1 of their Second Round Stanley Cup Playoffs  series from the Rangers.

“Well, I thought we obviously raised the level of game, intensity, and played with more desperation,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.

“Give them a lot of credit – they played a really good game. For two periods they were the better team, no question. When you’re down, you have to up your game. That’s of kind what happened. We’re not going to get away with not playing two periods and expect to win a game. Especially at this time of year.”

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Falling behind, catching up, stealing it

Filip Chytil’s one-timer put the Rangers up 1-0 at 7:07 into the game.

It came about as the result of a turnover in the neutral zone.

Tony DeAngelo’s cute backhand pass to no one but Alexis Lafreniere turned ugly as his pass into the slot set Chytil up nicely.

It was a lead they didn’t relinquish until Sebastian Aho tied it with 2:23 to go in regulation, following up on his rebound after Rangers keeper Igor Shesterkin made a sprawling pad save on, one his 24 on the night.

Then just over three minutes into overtime, defenseman Ian Cole sniped the puck pad-high and beat Shesterkin to send the Canes contingent of the crowd home in jubilance.

“Kinda getting our first taste of OT is great,” Cole said.

“Turning it around in the third period and and continuing that into the OT, I think was a great sign as well. We weren’t necessarily happy with how the first two periods went. Just throw it on net and see what happens. Hockey’s a game of weird bounces and it happened to go in – so, not the prettiest but we’ll take it.“

Something was off early

There was noise early on, but it wasn’t loud – not 108-decibel loud.

Every seat had a rally towel on it before puck drop, but not that many were twirling in the air like during Game 7 against the Boston Bruins.

Blame the New York Rangers for that.

They flooded  the neutral zone with all five skaters, slowed the Hurricanes rush and they made the crowd hush.

Antti Raanta made big saves – kept everyone engaged for sure.

He had to or it could have been disastrous.

Carolina dumped pucks in deep – that didn’t help.

The Rangers D-men still got to them quicker.

The hits came slow and predictable – very little reason for the officials to raise an arm for.

A total of two minors called all game – neither team scoring on those extra-man opportunities.

Change it up – do what we do

So it came down to 5-on-5 play – the Canes’ forte.

With 20 minutes to go, Aho and his mates made the push and were eventually rewarded for the effort.

The crowd finally pumped it up to 102 Dbs – the $5 Storm Brews had finally kicked in.

On the ice, changes to line combinations played a role in that resurgence.

“I think it was necessary to change a little bit, something out there, and obviously it worked pretty well,” Aho said.

“So sometimes it goes like that. Sometimes it gives you an extra step. There’s usually a reason why they mix up those lines, so pretty good response throughout the lineup after those changes.“

While Rangers coach Gerard Gallant stated that he thought his team “played its best game of the year”, Carolina didn’t, but figured out a way to stay undefeated at home in the postseason.

“You’re just kind of like, maybe we’re getting what we deserve here,” Brind’Amour said.

“I liked the fact that we just kept comin’.  We didn’t change too much in the third. We just threw everything we had at them. Fortunately we got that tier (goal), and walked away with the win.”

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