NEW YORK — There are two things the Carolina Hurricanes haven’t figured out this postseason: how to score on the power play and how to win on the road.
That continued in Sunday’s Game 3 at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers got 43 saves from Igor Shesterkin, scored a power play goal of their own and held on for a 3-1 win to cut the Hurricanes’ lead two games to one in their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“You’re not gonna win if you don’t score more than one,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said.
Carolina went 0 for 3 on the power play, including failing to register a shot on their final chance when they were down a goal with six minutes left in the game.
Brind’Amour said he liked the look of his power play though acknowledged it needed to “connect,” but his players were blunter in their assessments.
“Our power play stunk,” defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “It’s the reason we lost the game. It’s gotta score. We can’t keep going game after game with no power play goals. We keep telling you guys we get chances, tonight we didn’t. It wasn’t good enough.”
Nino Niederreiter added, “At the end of the day, the power play let us down again.”
The Rangers’ power play did convert, needing just 74 seconds on its first chance to register the first man advantage goal of the series.
New York was outshot 12-4 in the first 10 minutes of the game but took a 1-0 lead when Mika Zibanejad scored short side from the left faceoff dot at 11:54.
New York doubled its lead at 5:55 of the second when Chris Kreider picked the far side corner on Antti Raanta (30 saves) to make it 2-0.
It took 23 shots before the Hurricanes got a goal past Shesterkin.
Niederreiter came up the right wing with speed and backhanded a shot that handcuffed the Rangers goalie and made 2-1 at 8:18 of the middle frame.
The Hurricanes continued to throw shots at the Rangers’ net, and after two tight-checking games in which they totaled 49 shots on goal, the Hurricanes finished with 44 in Game 3.
“We’re getting pucks there, it just felt like none of them got through,” Brind’Amour said. The Rangers blocked 17 shots, but 10 of them came in the third period.
When they did get through, Shesterkin was there to stop them.
“He’s a good goalie. You’ve gotta give him credit,” said Hurricanes forward Max Domi, who finished with a playoff career-high four shots on goal. “Stay with it and eventually you’re gonna make him crack.”
Tyler Motte added an empty-net goal with 83 seconds left for his first goal of the postseason.
The loss dropped Carolina to 0-4 on the road this postseason, a baffling turn for a team that tied for the league lead with 25 road wins in the regular season.
“If you’re not gonna score on special teams, you’re gonna have a tough time winning on the road,” DeAngelo said.
There was also some vitriol at the end of the game with Domi being assessed a penalty after the horn for cross-checking Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren, leading to both players tussling as the teams tried to leave the ice.
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant could be seen yelling at Hurricanes players from the bench, and he invoked his trump card in the postgame interview by reminding Carolina that he has enforcer Ryan Reaves on his side.
“We got the guy that can handle all their guys if we have to. … You got a lot of memory in this,” Gallant said. “You think about things and, like I said, it might be on the other foot someday.”
Domi called it “part of the game,” and Brind’Amour said he “didn’t really see what happened.”
As for Gallant yelling at his players — it seemed DeAngelo was the primary target — Brind’Amour again had nothing to say.
“I didn’t catch any of that, so I can’t comment,” the coach said.
Notes: The Hurricanes’ 44 shots on goal were the most for the team in a regulation playoff game since May 5, 2002, a 4-1 loss at home to Montreal in Game 2 of Carolina’s Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Canadiens. Brind’Amour had the lone goal in that game against eventual Hart and Vezina winner Jose Theodore. … Andrei Svechnikov had a team-high nine shots attempts, including tying Vincent Trocheck for the most shots on goal with five. … Brendan Smith got an assist on Niederreiter’s goal and now has points in all three games in the series.