Recap: Vincent Trocheck, the Double OT Hero

What a playoff hockey game we would be in for. The Rangers looked to build off their success to take a key 2-0 lead on the series while the Hurricanes looked even it up before the series heads to Raleigh. No changes to the lineup on the Rangers side of the ice, one change for Carolina with Maxime Comtois coming in for Evgeny Kuznetsov. Without further ado, let’s relive the magic.  

1st Period:

After a bit of a slow start involving a handful of icing calls, things began to pick up for both sides. The Hurricanes had a stretch of offensive zone time and saw a couple of chances before the tide turned with another big shift from the Rangers third line. Right from the start, Will Cuylle in particular was really flying out there which was great to see. However, it ended up costing the Rangers the first penalty of the game as he collided with Freddie Anderson while coming in on an up close breakaway. 

The Rangers once again put on a penalty killing clinic and kept Carolina’s chances with the man advantage to a minimum. Things slowly began picking back up in the Rangers favor and with just about eleven minutes to go in the opening period, they would pick up the first goal of the contest. A strong forecheck from Alexander Wennberg sent the puck up to K’Andre Miller at the point. The quick shot was blocked around the slot but found the stick of Alexis Lafrenière who let an absolute ripper of a shot go to beat Anderson top-shelf, 1-0 Rangers. 

Then things took more of a fiery turn. In chasing the puck behind the Rangers net, Andrei Svechnikov completely laid goaltender Igor Shesterkin out by clipping him with the leg, border line knee-on-knee. An incredibly dangerous, uncalled for play whether it was intentional or not. Naturally a crowd drew and Shesterkin turned into Patrick Roy in the 90s’ trying to get a piece of Svechnikov. The officials reviewed the call for a major penalty but landed on a two minute minor for tripping. Should it have been a major? Who knows, but thankfully, Shesterkin was alright. 

Despite some good looks on their first power play of the night, the Rangers wouldn’t convert and shortly after, it would come to bite them in the butt. With just about five minutes to go in the period, a hard shot from Sebastian Aho took a redirect off the stick of Jake Guentzel in front of the crease to find the back of the net, tying the game up 1-1. 

Tensions were rising just as the temperatures in the tri-state area, playoff hockey was here. On the fourth line's next shift, Matt Rempe stopped right in front of Carolina’s net. Didn’t make any contact with anybody, just came to a stop at the end of the shift. This of course caused a reaction from the Hurricanes players but the more untoward reaction came from the league’s worst official, Kelly Sutherland. With the same level of distress as a teacher running over to scold a little kid for causing problems in class, Sutherland sprinted over to Rempe with a wagging figure in his face. 

Imagine the fines and suspensions that would have come had Rempe collided with Anderson instead of Svechnikov on Shesterkin? Nevertheless, there was still important hockey left to play to close out the period. With under a minute to go, the officials made a bit of a soft call on Barclay Goodrow for cross-checking; however just before that, K’Andre Miller played a 1-on-1 battle with Stefan Noesen like an absolute seasoned veteran. Noesen didn’t take kindly to that and decided to get scrappy with the Rangers defenseman which turned the Hurricanes pending power play to 4-on-4 hockey. 

The Rangers would quickly learn a couple of important lessons. One, you can’t get caught chasing this team around your own zone. You have to find a way to go the extra mile and win every battle to get the puck out of harm's way. Second, you can’t let them get shots off from the point with traffic in front. Very similar to the Guentzal goal, Dmitry Orlov let a shot go from the point that trickled past Shesterkin to give Carolina a 2-1 lead to take into the first intermission with just six seconds remaining. 

At the end of the first twenty, shots were 13-11 in favor of the Hurricanes who were also leading in attempts, high danger chances, expected goals for and face-offs. In spite of that, the Rangers had some bright moments which left them right there in this one, they just had to turn it back on in the second and find a way to bounce back from a brutal end to a tough period.  

2nd Period:

After a big save from Shesterkin to start the second, Jacob Trouba would get called for high-sticking to send Carolina’s power play unit back out there. Quite similarly to what happened at the end of Game 1, Svechnikov took down a Rangers defender right off the draw which earned himself another well-deserved penalty. Back to 4-on-4 hockey for two minutes which really didn’t do the Rangers any good and another swarming attack from the Hurricanes really started to test the stress levels. This included six shots on goals in a span of less than a minute. The Rangers needed something to get themselves back in this game. 

An absolutely brilliant rush and pass from Adam Fox found Lafrenière right at the doorstep to tuck in his second of the night to tie the game up, 2-2. 

A minute and a half later it was yet another Jacob Trouba penalty putting the Rangers at a disadvantage. The Rangers would kill most of it off with less ease than they had earlier in the game and series but got some help from another post whistle scrum that resulted in Jake Guentzel taking a penalty for punching Adam Fox in the face. Honestly, if that wasn’t the penalty, Guentzel slamming the puck away like a child just prior to that could have been. Regardless, the Rangers held on through the 4-on-4 and had a short power play to try and regain the lead. 

While they wouldn’t find the back of the net, the Rangers really flipped a switch midway through the period and were starting to match Carolina’s intensity. Tensions were continuing to rise, the play was getting faster and more physical, it was already starting to feel like one of the most intense games of the entire playoffs. Late period goals cost the Rangers in the first making it imperative to avoid that happening again here in the second. At this point, Jacob Trouba already had a pair of penalties on the night. To make matters all the more worse, an absolutely mindless pass to no one at center ice resulted in a detrimental turnover that directly resulted in another Jake Guentzel goal. Carolina 3-2 after two. 

There’s no sugarcoating that one. That is an inexcusable mistake that can not happen in a game like this, especially from your Captain. This left the Rangers with a minute-forty to try and tie it back up before the buzzer but time would soon expire which put an end to the second period. The Rangers only registered nine shots on goal throughout the second but had a pretty impressive stretch of strong efforts. They would once again need to bounce back from a late period goal and do what they can to edge the Hurricanes out of this one. 

3rd Period:

The Rangers came out pushing to regain control in the final period of regulation and after five minutes, it drew another Carolina penalty. Dmitry Orlov took down Will Cuylle to give the Rangers a timely power play. They needed an answer and they’d get it. Just after dumping it back in Carolina’s end, the Rangers went to work and with some help from Panarin and Trocheck, Chris Kreider was able to tuck in the rebound, 3-3 game. 

Just a couple of minutes later, the Rangers got a second chance with the power play giving them the first of what would be two perfect opportunities to regain the lead. Jordan Martinook tripped Erik Gustafsson coming out of the Rangers zone around the midway mark for the first one and then it would be Brady Skjei tripping Alex Wennberg in Carolina’s end in the final minute and a half of the period. 

On both power play’s the Rangers continued to get chances but the longer they went on, the more difficult it was becoming. There was also some concern with Adam Fox not looking like his usual Adam Fox self which could be alarming given what happened in Game 1. Nevertheless one thing was for sure and that was Igor Shesterkin was on his game. He would be tested significantly on the later Rangers power play as the Hurricanes came up with a couple of serious shorthanded chances. The most stressful part of it all hands down would be the geniuses over at ESPN switching over to the start of the Colorado/Dallas game in the middle of play with give or take a minute left. Truly unbelievable. 

Total tallies in regulation shots on goal would be 42-29 in favor of Carolina, further proving Shesterkin’s significance through three periods of play. Aside from hits, the Rangers were behind Carolina in most other areas but the real significant stat would be the Rangers going 1-for-6 on power plays. The buzzer sounding however made all of that irrelevant seeing as it would come down to just one important goal. Who would have it? 


Well it’s just like they say, there’s only two types of overtime in the playoffs. The ones that end quickly, or the ones that go late into the night and sure enough, we were in for plenty of bonus hockey. The first, yes first overtime got off to the jittery start you’d expect but once the team’s settled in, it was very tired, conservative hockey with lots of icings and even more anxiety. The nightmare of an outing would continue for the Rangers Captain as Jacob Trouba tripped Martin Necas about eight minutes into overtime. This gave Carolina as good a chance as any to put an end to the night. 

It wouldn’t be easy, but the Rangers fought it off to keep things moving along at an understandably slower rate. Both goaltenders were coming up big for their respective team’s with neither of them showing indications that they were planning to give up a goal anytime soon. As far as the Rangers offensive chances went, it was their Kreider - Zibanejad - Roslovic line that saw the bulk of the best looks. Roslovic especially really stood out throughout overtime with the game on his stick on more than one occasion. The best scoring chance came from a cross ice pass from Roslovic that found a pinching Trouba to push it ahead to Zibanejad for a quick up-close breakaway. 

Carolina continued to out-shoot the Rangers 10-8 after one full period of overtime. At this point, Shesterkin was closing in on 50 saves as there was no question he was playing a huge role in his team staying in this thing. 

Double OT:

With a bit of rejuvenated energy going into the second overtime, the team’s exchanged some back-and-forth to get started but Carolina would get one of the strongest chances on what had the potential to be a 2-on-1. During which, Artemiy Panarin slowed down Martin Necas with a potentially necessary hook and sure enough, the Rangers were back to the penalty kill. They really tempted fate with all the power play chances to Carolina in overtime but once again, like they always do, the Rangers found a way. 

Just a minute or so after the team’s returned to even strength, the Rangers finally got their turn on the power play in overtime. Brady Skjei took down Vincent Trocheck high in the slot with a cross-check to set the stage. A power play in double OT at the World’s Most Famous Arena? No better time to be a hero. 

The Rangers definitely showed some nerves at the beginning of the man advantage as Panarin coughed up the puck leading to the Hurricanes clearing it. He would quickly make up for it as he set up Zibanejad for the shot which left a rebound for Vincent Trocheck to tuck home. They pulled it off. The Rangers win in double overtime and take a 2-0 lead in the series. 

What. A. Game. Was it perfect? Nope. Is double overtime ideal? Nope. But all that matters is the team coming out of it on top and that’s exactly what they did tonight. No question this had to be one of, if not the most exciting game of the entire postseason so far, certainly the longest one. The Rangers will head to Raleigh from here to prepare for Game 3 in Carolina on Thursday Night. Let’s keep this thing going!