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Hurricanes edge Rangers to clinch Metropolitan Division

Apr 26, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) and New York Rangers center Frank Vatrano (77) battle for the puck along the boards during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov held his own for his third career NHL victory as the Carolina Hurricanes clinched the Metropolitan Division title by defeating the host New York Rangers 4-3 in a showdown between the top teams in the division Tuesday night.

Vincent Trocheck, Jordan Martinook, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho scored Carolina’s goals. Brady Skjei notched two assists against his former team and Trocheck also had an assist in the team’s fifth consecutive victory.

The Hurricanes (53-20-8, 114 points) set a franchise record for points in a season.

Kochetkov, making his third NHL appearance and second start all in a four-day span, racked up 31 saves. The Hurricanes have been hit by a rash of goalie injuries.

Chris Kreider, Jacob Trouba and Alexis Lafreniere scored for the Rangers (51-23-6, 108 points), who’ve lost their past two games. It’s their first back-to-back losses in regulation since March 8 and 10.

New York goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 31 shots.

After the Rangers came up empty on three power plays, the Hurricanes broke through first on Trocheck’s goal at 7:05 of the second period. Martinook’s tally stretched the lead before Kreider responded for New York.

Kreider’s 52nd goal of the season tied him for the second-most in franchise history, putting him two behind Jaromir Jagr’s mark set in 2005-06. Kreider also added an assist.

But Carolina rebuilt its margin to two goals less than two minutes later as Teravainen scored just 1:41 before the end of the second period.

Aho’s team-leading 37th goal came just 32 seconds into the third period.

After a pair of third-period comebacks last week, the Hurricanes took a different route for this clinching result. Carolina also won two weeks earlier at Madison Square Garden, topping the Rangers 4-2.

On Tuesday, Trouba closed the gap with a goal with 6:48 to go, but the Rangers managed only 11 shots in the third period. Lafreniere’s goal came with 1:02 left.

The Hurricanes finish the regular season Thursday at home against the New Jersey Devils.

The Rangers have home games remaining against Montreal on Wednesday and Washington on Friday.

–Field Level Media