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Rangers vs Hurricanes Game 4: All Even Heading Back to Carolina

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Four Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Rangers made the most of the previous two games on home ice, and will head back to Carolina with more than a chance to take control of the series. The festivities at the end of Game 3 by Max Domi seemed to energize the Rangers, and they came out with something to prove tonight. They were hard on the forecheck, made the most of their opportunities, and gave Carolina a taste of their own medicine as the buzzer sounded.

1st Period

Frank Vatrano (3) - Andrew Copp (4) & Adam Fox (9) PPG - 13:31

The two big trade deadline acquisitions came up in a big way for the Rangers early in the first period on the power play. Of course, Adam Fox started the entire play with a great escape pass between the stick of Vincent Trocheck to create the space for Andrew Copp. The Hurricanes left the entire lower right side of the ice wide open, and it didn’t take Copp long to find the open lane. Frank Vatrano was able to catch the pass perfectly on his tape, and wired a wrist shot under the right arm of Antti Raanta.

Adam Fox (4) - Ryan Lindgren (2) & Andrew Copp (5) - 15:42

A little over two minutes, the Rangers continued their persistent play in the offensive zone and doubled up their lead. Chris Kreider made an excellent play to keep the play alive with his feet after snapping his stick on a shot attempt. Great puck tracking by Andrew Copp kept the play alive for a second time, and he found the open lane up top to Ryan Lindgren. With plenty of ice in front of him, Lindgren stepped into a shooting lane and let a shot fly on goal. Initially it looked as if the shot beat Raanta clean, but the replay clearly showed Adam Fox deflecting the puck just inside the high slot to give New York a 2-0 lead.

2nd Period

Mika Zibanejad (5) - Ryan Lindgren (3) & Frank Vatrano (4) - 16:48

Late in the third period, the Rangers had a huge opportunity to capitalize once again as they broke into the zone on a 3-on-2 rush. Mika Zibanejad was able to collect the puck as he crossed the blue line, and made a drop pass to the trailing Ryan Lindgren. Lindgren had plenty of space once again, and was able to step into a heavy wrist shot that gave Raanta some trouble. The puck wound up slipping in behind Raanta’s pads and landed right in the crease. Zibanejad finished off the play by crashing the crease with speed, and slammed home the loose puck to put New York out in front 3-0.

3rd Period

Teuvo Teravainen (3) - Sebastian Aho (5) - 6:33

The Rangers had been doing an excellent job in front of their net for a majority of the evening, but Carolina was eventually able to capitalize on a chance in close. Sebastian Aho was able to swipe the puck away along the right side boards after making a solid check on Mika Zibanejad. Aho picked up the loose puck, and broke in on a mini 2-on-1 down low with Teuvo Teravainen. A nifty little no-look back pass from Aho delayed Jacob Trouba just enough to open up a shooting lane, and Teravainen put the shot over Igor Shesterkin’s shoulder.

Andrew Copp (5) - Ryan Strome (6) - 11:10

After giving up their first goal of the game, the Rangers fell back on the defensive a bit as Carolina began to apply some consistent offensive zone pressure. As they have done all playoffs, the Rangers found a way to weather the storm and create a quick counterattack in the other direction. A misplay in the neutral zone by Carolina led to a 3-on-3 rush into the offensive zone, and Ryan Strome carved by the Hurricanes’ defensemen. A great centering pass by Strome put Andrew Copp in a perfect shooting lane, and Copp buried the goal for his third point of the evening.

It was only a matter of time before the Rangers eventually got their offensive game cooking again, and the last two games are perfect examples of that. The Rangers have been playing good hockey throughout the first four games, but a lack of finishing cost them in the opening two games. Now, they head back to Raleigh with a chance to steal a game on the road, and force Carolina into a potential elimination game back home at Madison Square Garden.

One game at a time.