3 Takeaways as Third-Period Heroics Send the Rangers to Eastern Conference Finals

The New York Rangers are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals after finally finishing off the Carolina Hurricanes.
May 9, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) takes a
May 9, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) takes a / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers once again looked dead in the water heading into the third period as fans had nightmares of heading back to Madison Square Garden for game seven after blowing a 3-0 lead. Chris Kreider came through scoring three straight goals giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead before Barclay Goodrow iced the game with an empty netter. The Rangers now await the winner of the Bruins and Panthers series for a chance to head to the Stanley Cup Finals.

1. Igor Shesterkin Kept the Rangers in this Game

The Hurricanes scored three times on Shesterkin with some of the goals being nearly impossible to save. The score could've been much worse than 3-1 as Shesterkin stood on his head for parts of this game while the posts helped him out as well.

When the third period came around, however, Shesterkin looked otherworldly. The Rangers allowed several high-danger chances including one in the waning minutes of the game but, Shesterkin was able to shut the Hurricanes out in the third period.

2. Rangers' Slow Starts Can't Be Allowed to Continue

The New York Rangers once again looked stuck in mud to start the game allowing the Hurricanes to take a 3-1 lead. The Rangers have either been gassed or just didn't have the urgency as the Canes dominated the Rangers.

Prior to the Eastern Conference, this will likely be addressed by Peter Laviolette but, the off-time and rest may be all that the team needs to come out fresh in game one at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have to start these games better as the competition only gets better the rest of the way with some explosive offenses waiting in the wings.

3. Chris Kreider Comes Up Big With Natural Hat-Trick

The New York Rangers looked lifeless through the first forty minutes after looking flat the prior two games. The team needed someone to come up and change the tides of the game and no one was better suited for the job than the longest-tenured Ranger.

Chris Kreider gave the Rangers life by scoring an early third-period goal to cut the Hurricanes' lead to one. He then tied the game before following it up with the game-winning goal scoring a natural Hat Trick.

Chris Kreider joined Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier as the only Rangers to score three goals in one period in the playoffs with Messier's coming in the guarantee game. This game will be remembered by Rangers fans in a similar light if the team continues to march on in the playoffs. After missing practice due to an undisclosed injury, Kreider certainly came up big.

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