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Tuesday's NHL playoffs: Aho, Reimer help Hurricanes beat Rangers 4-1 for sweep

Associated Press

Toronto — Sebastian Aho scored twice in the third period while James Reimer was strong in net to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 4-1 on Tuesday night and sweep the Stanley Cup qualifier series.

Warren Foegele scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period for the Hurricanes, redirecting a shot from the point by Brady Skjei to beat rookie Igor Shesterkin at 5:07 in the third. Then Aho followed with a highlight-reel goal about 5½ minutes later, taking the puck from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba along the boards and skating in on Tony DeAngelo to backhand the puck past Shesterkin as he went to his knees.

Carolina Hurricanes left wing Warren Foegele (13) celebrates his goal with teammates defenceman Joel Edmundson (6) and center Vincent Trocheck (16) during the third period Tuesday.

Aho added a short-handed empty-netter late to seal it, with the Hurricanes sweeping the best-of-5 series after losing all four regular-season meetings against the Rangers.

Aho’s big night, which included an assist, came after he had three assists in Monday’s Game 2 win as well as a goal and an assist in the series opener.

“I felt like I worked really hard after the season was paused … and I knew if the season would continue I would ge in good shape,” Aho said. “I feel good right now.”

Reimer had a huge part of the win too, finishing with 37 saves that included a couple of big stops during a wild second-period sequence.

That included Reimer – who got the start after Petr Mrazek won the first two games of the series – stopping Brendan Lemieux as he skated in toward the crease. He was unable to control the puck as Carolina defensemen Jaccob Slavin and Sami Vatanen dove into the crease to clog the net, with Vatanen managing to make his own diving stop of Lemieux’s follow-up shot with his left shoulder.

“At first I thought it went in,” Reimer said of the first shot. “I took a peek behind me, it wasn’t there and guys were flying all over the place. And it’s kind of a helpless feeling because you don’t want to move

and kick the puck in, and you’re trying to find it. Guys were diving all over the place.”

That bought time for Reimer to get to his feet, then make another in-close stop on Filip Chytil near the crease by extending out his right arm to deflect the puck.

Teuvo Teravainen also scored for Carolina early in the second period, a quick answer to a goal by New York’s Chris Kreider for a 1-0 lead that was the Rangers’ first of the postseason.

Shesterkin, a 24-year-old rookie who went 10-2 after making his NHL debut in January, finished with 27 saves in his postseason debut after being unavailable in the series’ first two games. But an offense that came into the series ranked fifth in the NHL (3.33 goals per game) managed four goals in three games.

“Igor played well,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “Certainly our goaltending wasn’t our problem in the series.”

With the loss, the Rangers are the first team eliminated from the NHL’s expanded playoff rounds but are also in the running to claim the No. 1 overall draft pick in Monday’s second draft lottery. One of the eight eliminated playoff teams will claim the chance to select Quebec junior Alexis Lafreniere, the projected top pick.

“Honestly it just sucks that it’s done,” said Mika Zibanejad, who had 41 regular-season goals but none after Game 1 for the Rangers. “I don’t know, just an empty feeling right now.”

More NHL playoffs

Toronto 3, Columbus 0: In Toronto,  Auston Matthews and John Tavares scored and the Maple Leafs evened their best-of-five qualifying series at one game.

Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin was taken off the ice on a stretcher with 1:52 left in the game after his head made violent contact with Columbus’ Oliver Bjorkstrand behind the Blue Jackets net. Muzzin was attended to by a trainer before more medical personnel arrived on the ice. He was taken to a hospital, but there was no immediate word on his condition.

Andersen made 20 saves for his third career playoff shutout, and Morgan Rielly added an empty-net goal with 43 seconds left.

Nashville 4, Arizona 2: In Edmonton, Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist, Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots and the Predators jumped on the Coyotes early to even their Stanley Cup qualifier series.

Nashville had the early jump after falling into a three-goal hole to lose Game 1, scoring on goals by Nick Bonino and Johansen in a span of three minutes of the first period.

Calle Jarnkrok scored in the second period and Viktor Arvidsson put it away with a goal in the third. Game 3 is Wednesday.

N.Y. Islanders 4, Florida 2: Jordan Eberle scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, and the Islanders rallied to a win over the Panthers and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five NHL preliminary round playoff series.

Ryan Pulock and Matt Martin also scored, and Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots in a game New York overcame a pair of one-goal deficits.

Mike Hoffman had a goal and assist and captain Aleksander Barkov also scored for Florida, which is one loss from going one-and-done in the playoffs for a fifth consecutive time.

The Panthers have advanced past the playoffs’ opening round just once in franchise history, in 1996, when Florida reached the Stanley Cup Final before being swept by Colorado.

Florida is making its first playoff appearance since 2016, when the Panthers were eliminated by the Islanders in six games.

Calgary 6, Jets 2: In Edmonton, Sean Monahan had a goal and two assists while Cam Talbot finished with 33 saves to help the Flames beat the Jets in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup qualifier series.

Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 series. Milan Lucic and Matthew Tkachuk also scored goals for Calgary.

Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor/University of Michigan) and Nikolaj Ehlers scored goals for the Jets, who took a 1-0 lead midway through the first on Ehlers’ even-strength score only to surrender Lindholm’s tying goal 18 seconds later on the power play.

Calgary went 3-for-4 on the power play while being whistled for just two penalties.

Connor Hellebuyck (Commerce Township) finished with 26 saves for Winnipeg.

Game 4 is Thursday.

Vancouver 4, Minnesota 3: J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist as the Canucks leveled their best-of-five Stanley Cup qualifying series with the Wild at one game apiece. Horvat's power-play goal at 6:22 of the third period turned out to be the winner as the Wild's Kevin Fiala scored twice within a 2:20-span, his last goal coming with 9 seconds left in the game. Tanner and Brock Boeser also had Canucks' goals. Luke Kunin (shorthanded) also scored for the Wild. 

Stanley Cup qualifiers

CAROLINA VS. N.Y. RANGERS

Carolina wins series 3-0

Saturday: Carolina 3-2

Monday: Carolina 4-1

Tuesday: Carolina 4-1

FLORIDA VS. N.Y. ISLANDERS

N.Y. Islanders lead 2-0

Saturday: N.Y. Islanders 2-1

Tuesday: N.Y. Islanders 4-2

Wednesday: Noon

x-Friday: TBD

x-Sunday: TBD

MONTREAL VS. PITTSBURGH

Series tied 1-1

Saturday: Montreal 3-2, OT

Monday: Pittsburgh 3-1

Wednesday: 8 

Friday: TBD

x-Saturday: TBD 

COLUMBUS VS. TORONTO

Series tied 1-1

Sunday: Columbus 2-0

Tuesday: Toronto 3-0

Thursday: TBD

x-Friday: TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 9: TBD

CHICAGO VS. EDMONTON

Series tied 1-1

Saturday: Chicago 6-4

Monday: Edmonton 6-3

Wednesday: 10:30 

Friday: TBD

x-Saturday, Aug. 8: TBD

WINNIPEG VS. CALGARY

Calgary leads 2-1

Saturday: Calgary 4-1

Monday: Winnipeg 3-2

Tuesday: Calgary 6-2

Thursday: 10:30 

x-Saturday, Aug. 8: TBD

ARIZONA VS. NASHVILLE

Series tied 1-1

Sunday: Arizona 4-3

Tuesday: Nashville 4-2

Wednesday: 2:30

x-Friday: TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 9: TBD

MINNESOTA VS. VANCOUVER

Series tied 1-1

Sunday: Minnesota 3-0

Tuesday: Vancouver 4-3

Thursday: TBD

x-Friday: TBD

x-Sunday, Aug. 9: TBD

x-if necessary