• The New York Rangers strike early and are back even with the Carolina Hurricanes.
• The Hurricanes can not win a game on the road.
• The Edmonton Oilers are in complete control of their series against the Calgary Flames
Jacob Trouba delivered another massive hit, Frank Vatrano scored a power play goal after the ensuing madness, and Igor Shesterkin stopped 30 shots to help the New York Rangers even their Second Round series with the Carolina Hurricanes at two games apiece. Even though the first two games were mostly close on the scoreboard, the Rangers looked like a team that was going to have a difficult time keeping up with Carolina in this series. But just as they did in the First Round, the Rangers have managed to crawl back just when they looked defeated and draw even in the series.
The big issue for Carolina is its inability to win a game away from home.
The Hurricanes are now 0-5 away from Raleigh this postseason and 6-0 on home ice. That makes home-ice advantage pretty significant, but at some point they are going to have to win a game or two away from home.
Game 4: Edmonton Oilers 5, Calgary Flames 3 (EDM Leads Series 3-1)
The Edmonton Oilers might have their flaws, but on any given night they have the best player on the ice and that will always give them a chance. And now they are just one win away from reaching the Western Conference Final thanks to their 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Evander Kane both scored two goals, while Connor McDavid had two more assists to increase his lead in the playoff scoring race. Edmonton jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, watched it slip away, and then finally jumped back ahead in the third period.
You have to give the Oilers a lot of credit here because Calgary’s game-tying goal in the third period was, well, just watch….
It was only two minutes later that Nugent-Hopkins put the Oilers back in front for good.
Three Stars in NHL Playoffs (Game 4 of Hurricanes-Rangers and Flames-Oilers)
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Nugent-Hopkins has to be an X-factor for the Oilers. You know McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are going to produce, but offense has to come from somebody other than them. Nugent-Hopkins, another of their top draft picks from the past decade, has the ability to be a game-changer. On Tuesday, he was. Nugent-Hopkins scored a pair of goals, including the game-winning goal in the third period just a few minutes after the Flames tied the game, and also finished with five shots on goal in the win.
2. Andrew Copp, New York Rangers
The Rangers’ trade deadline acquisitions paid off in a big way on Tuesday. Frank Vatrano opened the scoring with a power play goal, while Copp had a goal and two assists in the win. Both players were acquired before the trade deadline to help beef up the Rangers’ scoring depth, and they are making a difference in the playoffs. Copp had a career-best performance during the regular season and following his three-point game on Tuesday now has 10 points in the Rangers’ first 11 playoff games. Add in his defensive ability and he has been a great two-way player.
3. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers
His overall numbers this postseason might not to be totally matching his regular season numbers, but he has still been a game-changer for the Rangers behind what has been at times a very porous defense. He was great over the past two games in New York to help the Rangers even the series, and if he starts to get on a roll that is going to be a significant problem for Carolina. It could even set the stage for an epic goalie duel in a potential Eastern Conference Final matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning (if the Rangers can win two more games against Carolina).
WEDNESDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 4: Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues (COL Leads Series 3-1), 8 p.m. ET — TNT
PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews
• Avalanche vs. Blues
• Makar, McDavid lead Conn Smythe watch after First Round
• NHL Second Round predictions
• Storylines for the NHL’s Second Round