They erupted on many occasions in North Carolina’s state capital on Monday. The New York Rangers’ blue grew increasingly visible across PNC Arena with each advancing minute of Game 7. Fans of the Hurricanes slowly filed out, giving way to Blueshirts fans who had invaded their home ice. A New York-style celebration erupted almost 500 miles from Madison Square Garden.
They were celebrating a 6-2 victory for their New York Rangers, who sent a clear statement that they had arrived ahead of time by winning their second-round playoff series.
It was expected that the team will make the playoffs. It was in their wheelhouse to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
From here, the journey will only become harder. The Eastern Conference Final, which begins at 8 p.m. Wednesday at MSG, will feature the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. And while that battle will be challenging, the Rangers have the upper hand right now.
New York Rangers Dominated The Hurricanes
They ended the Canes’ seven-game house playoff hot streak and seized Raleigh, allowing their fans to revel in the joy of the Blueshirts‘ comeback.
The biggest lesson from these playoffs for a club that has never been here before has been their ability to rise to the situation. The goaltender showdown against the Lightning and star Andrei Vasilevskiy will be thrilling, but the New York Rangers won round two by a landslide. Igor Shesterkin was fantastic from beginning to end in this series, which concluded with a bang. On Memorial Day, he had a historic 36-save effort, keeping the Hurricanes off the scoresheet until the third period. Former Ranger Tony DeAngelo and Max Domi scored late goals to sink his chances of winning the franchise’s second Game 7 in team history. (The first occurred against the Washington Capitals in 2013 from Henrik Lundqvist.)
Shesterkin, much as in Game 6, had an incredible first period to rouse his team and help them take an early lead.