A bitterly disappointing performance saw the New York Rangers fall at the hands of the red hot Carolina Hurricanes by the final score of 6-1. It was Carolina's fourth win at Madison Square Garden since 2011, but it hurts just as much as the other three, if not more. Being blown out at home by this club is something the Rangers haven't known, and with both home legs of the season series against Carolina done, any retribution will have to wait until next year.
It started early, when the Hurricanes powerplay was able to crack the code of the Rangers penalty killers. A long shot from Martin Necas went will wide allowing the Canes to recoup the puck along the boards. As former Ranger Brady Skjei picked the puck up, he fired it down low to Stefan Noesen who set up a one-timer for the nephew of the Rangers general manager. Jack Drury went post and in with a rifle of a one-timer to give the Hurricanes the lead.
Carolina's powerplay would double its tally at the end of the period. Sebastian Aho won the faceoff back to Brent Burns, and Burns gave the puck back to the Finn. The white hot Canes forward picked out a seeing-eye pass to Andrei Svechnikov at the back post, and the two best Hurricanes forwards combined to double their lead, and force the Rangers to go into the intermission trailing 2-0 with a last minute goal.
Finally, the Rangers would get on the board. Artemi Panarin picks up the puck along the boards and drops it back to the point for the captain Jacob Trouba. Trouba fires it at the net, and it gets tipped past Pyotr Kochetkov in the Hurricanes goal. If it was tipped, it has to be Chris Kreider, because of course it was and the king of the deflection has gotten the Rangers into the game and cut the Hurricanes lead in half.
Carolina would get it back before the end of the second period though. A mixup between Braden Schneider and Igor Shesterkin lets Jordan Staal walk in and steal the puck away. The Hurricanes captain fires a pass out in front to Jordan Martinook, and he manages to find twine behind Igor Shesterkin, and the Rangers are now in trouble as they cannot keep up with the onslaught from this Hurricanes roster.
Early in the third period, Carolina would get another one. Drury would lead the Hurricanes breakout as he found Martin Necas entering the offensive zone. Necas dropped it back to Drury, who gave it over to Jalen Chatfield, and the Hurricanes took a commanding four-goal lead as all the players with Ranger ties seem to be haunting the Blueshirts in this one. Drury's second point of the night, and the Rangers are going to need a monumental effort to get back into this one.
However, the Hurricanes would extend their lead before the Rangers could recover from the first one of the third period. Tarrytown native Brett Pesce blocked a shot, that allowed Skjei to fire the puck up the ice to Svechnikov, who had gotten behind the Rangers defense. He walked past Igor and tucked it home to make it a 5-1 commanding Hurricanes lead, and the Rangers knew it was over. This had just been too much for the Blueshirts to start the year.
With four minutes left, the Hurricanes would put some salt in the wound when Skjei would get his third point of the night because of course he would firing a puck up the ice to Brendan Lemieux. Remember when he was a Ranger? Dark times. Anyway, Lemieux played a perfect set up pass because of course he did and Michael Bunting just undressed Igor Shesterkin and roofed it to make it 6-1, and this game was pain for the Rangers.
Thankfully, the Hurricanes opted to have mercy the rest of the way. This is not a game you can hang on Igor, because a lot of other goalies in the league would have had this game get lost and thrown a tantrum after they realized their team was not playing up to the standard. It wasn't good from the Rangers, and it is becoming a bit of a theme that the Rangers only lose when they lay absolute eggs. It's rare the Rangers are only slightly bested on the night.