Artemi Panarin scores in overtime, Rangers beat Hurricanes 3-2 to take 3-0 series lead

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The New York Rangers erased an early deficit to take momentum, only to squander their own lead late with a huge postseason road victory only minutes away.

It didn’t prevent them from staying unbeaten in the NHL playoffs with a second straight overtime win, and inching closer to the Eastern Conference Final.

Artemi Panarin redirected a pass between his legs at the crease to beat Pyotr Kochetkov just 1:43 into OT and the Rangers beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in the second-round series.

Panarin ended it after the Hurricanes’ Andrei Svechnikov had scored with the extra attacker and only 1:36 left in regulation to tie it, sending a jolt through Carolina’s normally boisterous crowd for the overtime period. Yet the Rangers pounced when the moment arrived to stun Carolina in a matchup of two of the league’s top three teams in the regular season.

“This is a resilient group and they’ve been in these situations before,” New York coach Peter Laviolette said about the intermission before OT. “And I think (it was) just sending messaging that we’re doing the right things, we were going to finish this because of what we’ve been through and the way we’re playing the game right now.”

Of course, it helps to have a finisher like Panarin.

The deciding play began when Carolina’s Dmitry Orlov lost control of a puck in the corner in the defensive zone. Vincent Trocheck collected it on the right side and sent it toward the crease to Panarin, who tipped the puck behind him as defenseman Jalen Chatfield tried to push him away from the crease.

The puck slipped under the right elbow and past the ribs of Kochetkov, sending Panarin into celebration and the Rangers soon joining him near the door toward the tunnel off the ice.

“I think Orlov, the puck bounced off his stick,” Trocheck said. “And then I just saw a little bit of daylight, saw Bread crashing the net, and it was a great tip by him.”

The Rangers, who are 7-0 in the postseason after sweeping Washington in Round 1, can complete the sweep in Game 4 here Saturday night.

Chris Kreider scored a shorthanded goal in the second period on a tying rush up the ice, while Alexis LaFreniere also scored in the third period for New York to take a 2-1 lead.

The Rangers were on the verge of a regulation win when Svechnikov gave Carolina another shot. That play started when Brady Skjei fired a shot from outside that sent the puck bouncing off the stick of Sebastian Aho — breaking Aho’s stick — near the right post.

But the puck came back out into the slot, and Svechnikov was able to zip the puck past a diving Adam Fox and over the shoulder of Igor Shesterkin (45 saves) to tie it at 2.

Jake Guentzel had a first-period goal for Carolina, while the 24-year-old Kochetkov had 22 saves in taking over the net from Frederik Andersen after the veteran had started the first seven playoff games.

By the end, though, Carolina had seen its last eight playoff losses come by one-goal margins going back to Florida’s sweep in last year’s Eastern Conference Final. Five of those losses came in overtime periods, including the past two.

“It’s a little bit of a broken record,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said.

The series looked as if it had the potential for heavy drama considering the Metropolitan Division-winning Rangers also won the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s top regular-season team, while the Hurricanes — in the playoffs for the sixth time in six seasons — finished three points behind and entered the NHL playoffs as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup, according to Bet MGM Sportsbook,

Yet the Rangers have turned this into a display of confident and clutch play.

Beyond Panarin’s finish, there was Kreider’s charge up the ice past Brent Burns to finish a feed from Mika Zibanejad for a short-handed goal that tied it at 1 and drained Carolina’s sustained momentum from Guentzel’s first score. And that ultimately captured a piece of another frustrating night for Carolina on the power play — along with a clear special-teams edge for New York so far.

After going 0 for 5 with the man advantage in each of the first two games, Carolina — which was the league’s No. 2 team on the power play with the man advantage — went 0 for 5 yet again to stand at 0 for 15 in the series.

Carolina’s penalty kill had given up four goals in the first two games, but held up this time against four power plays and continued steady play in 5-on-5 action.

“There’s two games going on here,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “If you want to write the right story, that’s what’s going on. And we’re losing one badly. But we’re doing pretty damn good on the other one. So it’s just how we can figure out to make this story get a little better, that’s the difference.”

The Rangers had their own lineup change, with forward Filip Chytil — who had been ruled out for the season in January — getting his first action since November after being sidelined with an upper-body injury.

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AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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