Canes continue home ice dominance to take 3-2 series lead

Carolina's power play, Vincent Trochek and Andrei Svechnikov end scoring droughts to beat the Rangers 3-1

Vincent Trocheck scores a shorthanded goal against New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin during the first period of Game 5 the Hurricanes' second round Stanley Cup playoff series at PNC Arena on Thursday. (Chris Seward / AP Photo)

RALEIGH — For the Carolina Hurricanes, home continues to be where the heart is.

As well as the playoff wins.


Vincent Trocheck scored a shorthanded goal, Teuvo Teravainen scored on the power play and Andrei Svechnikov scored for the first time in the series as the Canes extended their franchise-record home playoff winning streak to seven on Thursday by beating the New York Rangers 3-1 at PNC Arena and taking a 3-2 lead in the series.

Carolina has yet to lose on its home ice this postseason. Now the task turns to winning on the road, where the Hurricanes can wrap up the best-of-seven second round series on Saturday with a victory in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden.

“I think we played our game and we were just everywhere kind of,” said Svechnikov, who put the game away by converting a breakaway 13 minutes into the third period. “I think we’ve just got to just move that game to the next game and we’ll have success from that.”

The Canes, as they have at home throughout the playoffs, dominated their own end with a smothering defensive performance that limited the Rangers to single-digit shots in each of the three periods.

Goalie Antti Raanta needed to make 16 saves to earn the victory. And yet, it was a puck that got past him that helped turn the game into his team’s favor.

It happened five minutes into the second period when with the score tied at one, the Rangers’ Ryan Strome created a turnover at the blue line, retrieved the puck between the circles and beat Raanta with a quick wrist shot.

The goal, however, didn’t count.

After a challenge by Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, it was determined by video review that New York’s Andrew Copp was offside. 

“You’re never sure, but as soon as it happened, the process is check it, check it, check it,” Brind’Amour said. “I don’t know why it took so long, it was pretty clear. But at least they got it right.”

The reversal seemed to light a fire under the Canes. 

Instead of being down 2-1 and in danger of having their home-ice advantage — and perhaps the series — slip away, it was Carolina that took the 2-1 lead just over five minutes later when Teravainen took a cross-ice feed from Seth Jarvis and snapped a high shot past New York goalie Igor Shesterkin high inside the far post.

The goal was significant in more ways than just the scoreboard. It came with the Rangers’ Frank Vatrano in the penalty box for hooking Svechnikov, ending an 0-for-9 power play drought in the series. 

Carolina hadn’t scored with the man advantage since Game 6 of its first round series against Boston on May 12.

“It’s weird. We’ve been in that funk for a long time,” Brind’Amour said. “That obviously was much better tonight.”

As overdue as the power play was, Svechnikov was even more in need of a breakthrough. And he got it at a most opportune time.

With seven minutes remaining and the Canes clinging to a one-goal lead, the struggling star beat New York’s Adam Fox to the puck at center ice, broke free on Shesterkin and slid the puck between the goalie’s pads to give his team a two-goal cushion.

It wasn’t just Svechnikov’s first goal of the series, it was also his first point.

“Svechie is going to get his goals,” said teammate Trocheck. “He plays hard every night.”

Like Svechnikov, Trocheck had also been held without a point through the first four games against the Rangers. 

He got off the schneid at 12:57 of the first period when, with Svechnikov in the box, he started a 2-on-1 break with Jordan Staal by dislodging the puck from Rangers antagonist Jacob Trouba. Staal then lifted a perfect pass over a diving K’Andre Miller that Trocheck finished for the Canes’ second shorthanded goal of the series.

New York got even four minutes later, this time with Ian Cole serving a penalty, when Mika Zibanejad rocketed a one-timer past Raanta from the left circle.

From that point on, it was all Carolina, which could have been even more dominant on the scoreboard as it was in the flow of play had Sebastian Aho not hit the post twice in the second period.

“That’s just the type of game we play,” Trocheck said. “We play a hard-nosed game, we play smart and above them. That’s how we played all regular season. We kind of got away from that the first couple games of the series, but when we play our game I like our chances against anybody.”