Ryan Sproul and Kevin Hayes scored in the second period and the New York Rangers held off the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2-1 victory that eliminated the Hurricanes from playoff contention Saturday night at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist came through with 40 saves as the Rangers swept all four meetings from the Hurricanes this season. He stopped 15 of 16 shots in the final period.
The Hurricanes pressed for a tying goal, first pulling goalie Cam Ward and then going on a power play when Hayes went to the penalty box with 1:14 to play.
Carolina required a miracle, as even after winning Friday night at Washington, it needed to win its remaining four games and have the New Jersey Devils go without a point the rest of the season in order to have a chance to slide into the Eastern Conference playoff field. The Hurricanes had won four of their previous five games.
The Rangers, who had been previously eliminated from postseason contention, won for only the second time in their last eight games.
Jeff Skinner scored Carolina’s goal. Ward made 18 saves.
The goal for Sproul, a 25-year-old defenseman, was his first of the season and the second of his career.
Hayes scored in a short-handed situation as the Rangers posted two goals on five shots in the second period. Hayes’ goal continued a frustration for the Hurricanes on special teams as they had a tough time with penalty killing earlier in the week.
Skinner put the Hurricanes on the board with 11:53 remaining with his 24th goal of the season, taking a pass from Derek Ryan.
This was the first of four consecutive games to end the season for the Rangers against Metropolitan Division opponents.
The Rangers won their first three meetings with the Hurricanes by a combined score of 17-5, so this was a tighter contest, with Carolina dominating the shots (41-20).
—Field Level Media