A powerful performance by the New York Rangers kept the Carolina Hurricanes entirely off their game in the biggest moment in sports: Game 7.
New York dominated Carolina, 6-2, to eliminate the Canes and set up a series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In the first period, New York took advantage of a power play, off a hooking penalty, to go up 2-0.
The Rangers’ offense was refreshed for Game 7, knowing the challenge at hand.
Carolina was 7-0 at home in these Stanley Cup playoffs coming into Monday’s elimination game, and expectations around PNC Arena were that the Hurricanes would pull off their signature hometown defense to best the Rangers after they forced Game 7.
New York displayed the superior defensive performance, with goalie Igor Shesterkin recording 36 saves on the night.
The Hurricanes played hobbled after forward Seth Jarvis left in the first period with an upper-body injury.
Injury eventually became the nail in the coffin for Carolina, coming in the second period when Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta left the game with a lower leg injury.
Once rookie goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov stepped in for the injured Raanta, things crumbled quicker.
Chris Kreider pulled off a tremendous backhand shot (his second score of the game) in the third to put the Rangers up 4-0 with 16 minutes left. It was his eighth score of these playoffs, so far.
Carolina finally responded with 12 minutes in the third to spark a small bit of hope for a comeback effort — down 4-1.
New York responded 40 seconds later with a dagger score to go up 5-1. They finished the job, 6-2.
The Rangers will meet with the Lightning at Madison Square Garden for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela