Last night's win shows how this New York Rangers team can be different

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Three
New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game Three / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Thursday night, the New York Rangers found themselves in a familiar spot: with a 2-0 lead in the series, the Blueshirts had a chance to deliver a blow to the Carolina Hurricanes and take a 3-0 lead. With Artemi Panarin's goal less than two minutes into overtime, the Rangers were able to do just that.

That goal, and that game last night, shows why this New York Rangers team has what it takes to win it all.

The past two seasons, the Rangers have had a 2-0 lead in a series, and with a chance to deliver a back-breaking blow, they were unable to. In 2022, they were up 2-0 in Eastern Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In Game 3, New York was up 2-0, butTampa Bay came back in that game, won it 3-2, and rattled off four straight wins.

In 2023, the Rangers dominated the New Jersey Devils in Games 1 and 2, winning each one 5-1. In Game 3, Chris Kreider scored the opening goal, but New York failed to score the rest of the game and lost in overtime. The Rangers failed to rediscover that dominance and lost to the Devils in seven games.

This year, the Rangers have had a 2-0 lead in both of their series, and in both, they did the most important thing: win. They responded to the bell, the atmosphere of another arena during playoff time, and were able to pick up crucial wins.

Starting with last series against the Washington Capitals, the Rangers surrendered the first goal of the game when John Carlsson snuck one past Igor Shesterkin, who looked like he didn't see the puck. Then, less than a minute later, New York answered with a goal by Chris Kreider, and shortly after, a shorthanded goal by Barclay Goodrow gave them the lead.

Shesterkin was brilliant the rest of the game, tallying 28 saves, and New York took a 3-0 lead. The Blueshirts were able to close it out in Game 4.

But, what the Rangers did against the Hurricanes last night was much more impressive. There's no doubt that Carolina are a better team than Washigton. Moreover, they are a vastly different team at home; in the past three postseasons, they were 15-4 at PNC Arena before last night.

Coming into a hostile environment, the Rangers were able to weather the storm. While Carolina scored the first goal on a Jake Guentzel tip-in, New York settled in; Igor Shesterkin made saves and the Blueshirts stuck to their game. Most importantly, Carolina did not get the next goal.

The Rangers were opportunistic, and once again, special teams came through: a shorthanded goal by Chris Kreider tied up the game as Carolina could not beat Shesterkin and failed to capitalize on the man-advantage. Then, in the third period, the Rangers took the lead with an Alexis Lafreniere (who has five points in three games this series) snipe.

And, when Carolina scored with under two minutes remaining to tie up the game, it looked like the Rangers could once again fail to take a 3-0 series lead, similar to the past two years. But, the difference: they did. The Rangers immediately responded in overtime, and Artemi Panarin's overtime goal gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in what has been a tight series.

The Rangers did what they failed to do the past two postseasons, which is deliver a brutal punch to a desperate team and take a commanding lead on the series. Moreover, they have done it twice this postseason, suriging to a 7-0 start. This is what sets them apart and gives many belief that they can be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June.

The Carolina series is not over yet: it's a race to four, and New York has three. But, what the Rangers did last night shows how this team has been special and can continue to be as the postseason moves on.