The Offense Gets it Going in the Third Period, Scoring Four Times to Force Game 6

After allowing a short-handed goal in the second, the Canes finally solved Shesterkin in the third to help earn a 4-1 win to send the series back to Raleigh.
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Carolina Hurricanes survived the first big test on Saturday night, keeping their season alive by beating the New York Rangers 4-3 to force a fifth game in New York. Brady Skjei scored the team's first power-play goal of the series in the final four minutes to break the tie, helping the Canes avoid the sweep. With their first semblance of momentum in the series, it was time for Carolina to get the job done on the road at Madison Square Garden for the first time.

After making 22 stops on Saturday, Frederik Andersen was back in the net for the Hurricanes in Game 5. While he wasn't amazing, Andersen came up with the big stops down the stretch to preserve the win. Igor Shesterkin looked to rebound after suffering his first loss of the postseason. Though he has been great in this series, Game 5 was the first time in which it felt the Canes dented his armor. The only lineup change for either team was the return of Matt Rempe to the lineup after sitting for both games in Raleigh.

Neither goalie was giving an inch in the first period. Frederik Andersen and Igor Shesterkin were on their A-game to start, stopping nine shots each in the period. Each side had chances to score. The Rangers couldn't finish a wrap chance after Andersen lost an edge. Jake Guentzel was stopped on a breakaway. Evgeny Kuznetsov took a very bad penalty late in the period, but the Canes killed most of it off before heading into the locker room in a scoreless tie.

The Hurricanes would come up with a second kill early in the second period before drawing their first power play of the night. Almost in the most fitting fashion possible, the Rangers would strike short-handed to break the ice. Sebastian Aho's shot was blocked by Jacob Trouba. As Aho fell, it allowed Trouba to carry the puck out of the zone on a 2-on-1. With the passing lane taken away, Trouba buried the shot under the blocker to put New York ahead. The Rangers continued to stifle the Canes' offense, ending the period with their one-goal lead.

Through 40 minutes, it looked like the Rangers were about to finish the series. Almost out of nowhere, the Hurricanes decided to turn it up several notches, spear-headed by the captain. With the Rangers on their heels, Jordan Staal worked around Braden Schneider before beating the outstretched pad of Igor Shesterkin to end the shutout and tie the game.

Just over three minutes later, the Hurricanes would take the lead. Moving the puck up the ice with pace, Brady Skjei's one-timer was shouldered away, but Artemi Panarin couldn't tie up Evgeny Kuznetsov's stick. The rebound was lifted past Igor Shesterkin by Kuznetsov to take the wind out of Madison Square Garden. The Canes looked dead in the water six minutes earlier, only to now lead 2-1.

Almost as if like clockwork, the Canes struck one more time a little over three minutes later, again. Jack Drury got in on the forecheck to force Jacob Trouba to turn the puck over. Martin Necas fired the puck to the front of the net from below the goal line. Drury tipped it to Jordan Martinook, who snapped it home from the slot to extend the lead to two goals. Necas would put the game away for good late with an empty-net goal to make it 4-1, sending the series back to Raleigh for what could be the final home game of the season.

I was ready to talk about how it was fitting for the Canes' season to end because of a short-handed goal, but that third period saved me from doing so. They were 20 minutes away from reserving tee times for the summer. Instead, we're getting ready for a sixth game. That third period was everything the Canes hadn't gotten in this series. They've continued to chip away at Igor Shesterkin, making him look more and more human as the series progresses.

The most impressive part of the four-goal third period was that it didn't include a goal from the top line. It was the depth scoring that had been sorely lacking that pushed the Canes over the edge. Jordan Staal finally got one to go. The fourth line scored another goal. The Drury line came to life to finish the job. No one on the team finished with more than three shots, but almost every forward threw something at the net.

Though the power play continues to struggle, the penalty kill has been one of the quieter improvements as the series has gone on. After allowing four goals in the first two games, the Canes' penalty kill has been successful in their last eight attempts since allowing the game-winner in Game 2. The Rangers only had five shots on their three chances in Game 5, and none of them were particularly threatening.

To top it off, Frederik Andersen finally outdueled Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers' netminder was good for two periods, but the third period was tough. Andersen was solid throughout. He had his awkward moments, though he didn't allow his usual stinker in the game. Sure, you'd like for him to stop Jacob Trouba's short-handed chance, but the power play didn't do much to help in that regard.

With their first road win of the series, the Hurricanes have ensured they'll play at least one more game at home this season. They'll get an extra day of rest before returning to action on Thursday at PNC Arena. While the Canes are the team on the brink of elimination, the pressure seems to be on the Rangers. They appeared to have the series locked up. Now, the Hurricanes are within a game of evening things up.