Three Storylines from Game 6 between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes

May 16, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates
May 16, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers came from behind to win a thriller in Raleigh last night, taking down the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. The Canes jumped out to a 3-1 lead after two periods, but the Blue Shirts rallied in the third period with four unanswered goals to move onto the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Every Goal From Game 6


Chris Kreider Rallies the Troops 

The forward put the team on his back last night and catapulted the team’s comeback win with a natural hat trick in the third period. His first goal came off a rebound chance from Mika Zibanejad’s initial shot. Rather than conceding the puck to Frederick Andersen to cover up, Kreider crashed the net and slapped in the loose puck to cut the Canes' lead to 3-2.

Five minutes later Kreider struck again, ending the team’s power play drought and tying the game up with a tip-in goal, his specialty. With just under five minutes remaining in the game and overtime on the horizon, Kreider decided to end the game in regulation. He went to the blue paint once again and buried a feed from Ryan Lindgren for the go-ahead and game-winning goal.

Kreider’s hat trick puts him at seven goals in 10 playoff games. 

This is exactly what the Rangers needed from one of their best players. Someone to spark a comeback when the light at the end of the tunnel looked dim. It seemed like nobody was going to step up in another series-clinching game until Kreider emerged in the third period. The Canes held all the momentum and they looked like they would cruise to another win until Kreider silenced PNC Arena in just nine minutes of gameplay. Big players show up in big moments and that is exactly what Kreider did last night. 

Igor Shesterkin’s Rollercoaster of a Night 

When it comes to the goals the Hurricanes scored it is hard to blame Shesterkin. Martin Necas got the first one passed him, but it was a complete defensive miscue as Kaapo Kakko and Alex Wennberg looked like they were turning up ice thinking the Rangers were on a clear attempt which allowed Necas to sneak into the slot untouched.

The second goal was a tough break as Shesterkin made the initial save but the puck trickled through his legs where Seth Jarvis was waiting on the doorstep to tap in. As for the last goal, the Canes had a great clear and Aho took advantage and roofed the puck top shelf. 

Now the goals may not all be on Shesterkin, but what was on Shesterkin was the numerous times he got beat by a Carolina shot and saved by his best friend, the post. The Canes tattooed the post on three occasions throughout the game, none resulting in a goal.

One attempt that hit the iron came off Jake Guentzel’s stick. The puck beat Shesterkin's blocker side, hit the post, deflected off Shesterkin’s stick, hit off his back, and then fell to the outside of the net where it was covered up. Jordan Martinhook also had one ring off the crossbar which he thought went in as he began raising his stick in the air. If one of the shots cashes in, both teams may be on a flight back to New York for Game 7. 

Despite getting beat a few times, Shesterkin came up huge in crunch time and made multiple saves to rob Carolina of a game-tying goal. The biggest one came with 2:46 left in the game and the Canes net empty. Andrei Svechnikov found the puck off the faceoff all alone in the high slot but was shut down by Shesterkin’s blocker. 

Shesterkin may have let in three goals and been beaten multiple times, but when he needed to come up clutch he did just that. He finished the contest with 33 saves on 36 attempts. 

Learning Lesson for the Rangers

When you are up 3-0 in a series, no matter who you are playing, you should easily be able to secure a fourth win, right? Well…the Rangers made it a little stressful for themselves and the fans. They played with little energy and passion in games 4 and 5 and found themselves on the cusp of dropping a third straight game before Kreider saved the day. 

Now that the series is over we can look back at a near all-time choke job and use it as a positive for the future. The team is now aware that you need to play every game at 110% in the playoffs and you cannot take any shifts off. We see this a lot in sports. Teams are up big in a game or series and are already looking ahead to the next matchup and their attention on the little aspects of the game diminishes. The Hurricanes saw that and took advantage and were 15 minutes away from forcing a Game 7.

This series will help the Rangers' mindset going forward whether they play the Boston Bruins or the Florida Panthers. Treat every game like a win-or-go-home situation and play to your fullest potential.