Rangers Outlast Hurricanes in Double Overtime to Take Game 2, 2-0 Series Lead

Vincent Trocheck's double overtime winner, along with the best goaltending yet from Igor Shesterkin, gave the Rangers a crucial 2-0 series lead heading to Game 3 in Raleigh
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Two
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Two / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

It was the right place at the right time for the Rangers' Vincent Trocheck, as he scored at 7:24 of the 2nd overtime period to give New York a key 2-0 series lead in their 2nd round clash with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night. Furthermore, it also proved that the 30-year-old Trocheck wasn't fazed about playing a former team of his. And it wasn't just his efforts that helped the Rangers earn key momentum going into Game 3 in Raleigh tomorrow evening; the goaltending from Igor Shesterkin was stellar as ever.

Alexis Lafrenière tapped in his first goal of the postseason about a minute past the halfway point of the opening period for a 1-0 Rangers lead before Carolina knotted things at 1 apiece courtesy of their newest member, former Penguin Jake Guentzel, his 2nd of the playoffs. Dmitry Orlov gave Carolina a 2-1 lead later on with 6 seconds left in the 1st period, but the Rangers weren't fazed, needing 7 and a half minutes for Lafrenière's 2nd of the game to tie the game once again. However, Carolina had their own 2 goal scorer, Jake Guentzel, at 18:18 to give Carolina another crucial lead, 3-2, heading to the 3rd, where at 6:07, Chris Kreider's 3rd of the playoffs on a Rangers power play tied the game yet again at 3 apiece, setting the stage for overtime.

Trocheck may have provided the game-winner, also picking up 1st star of the game honors in the process, but the biggest star was undoubtedly Shesterkin, especially when it came to the overtime periods, totaling a ridiculous .947 save percentage, including stopping all 6 Carolina shots on power plays and stopping all 5 opposing shorthanded attempts. Even strength-wise, Shesty prevented 43 of 46 shots from entering the Rangers net and was kept in the whole game, even with backup Jonathan Quick at the ready if necessary. It was also how Shesty earned his first postseason overtime victory since Game 7 against the Penguins in 2022, the hero there being Artemi Panarin in a single overtime victory in a wild Game 7.

Now the only question is, other than how on earth Shesterkin made that many saves in a game that lasted just over 4 hours after a 7 pm start time is, can the 28-year-old Russian netminder carry that same playstyle into hostile territory, especially given the fact the Rangers didn't win in 2 games at PNC Arena during the regular season? The answer? Just wait and see on Thursday evening at approximately 7:10 pm Eastern time. If the Rangers stay red hot like they are now and keep their foot on the gas, they could arrive at the Stanley Cup finals faster than they ever even thought to make their first Finals appearance in 30 years, which is already legendary in its own right.