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Kreider’s 3rd-period hat trick lifts Rangers into Eastern Conference Final with win over Hurricanes

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes

May 16, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game six of the second round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Chris Kreider had a third-period hat trick to help the New York Rangers erase a two-goal deficit and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 in Game 6 on Thursday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Kreider single-handedly erased the Hurricanes’ 3-1 lead entering the final period. The go-ahead score came when he got position on Jalen Chatfield at the top of the crease and tipped in Ryan Lindgren’s wraparound attempt to make it 4-3 with at the 15:41 mark.

That finally allowed the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers to put away the Hurricanes, who had won two straight after falling into a 3-0 hole in the best-of-7 series. The Hurricanes appeared on the verge of forcing a Game 7 for a pressure-packed finale, but couldn’t contain Kreider and the Rangers’ surge in the final 14 minutes.

Barclay Goodrow finished this one off by getting to a loose puck near the boards and scoring a long empty-net goal in the final minute, sending Goodrow to the nearby Rangers bench to be mobbed by teammates.

That sent the Rangers on to the Eastern Conference Final to face the Boston-Florida winner, with the Panthers leading that series 3-2.

Kreider’s first goal came when he cleaned up a stop by Frederik Andersen on Mika Zibanejad at the 6:43 mark to make it 3-2. He followed by tipping in a shot by Artemi Panarin to tie it at the 11:54 mark.

Igor Shesterkin hung in after a pressured first two periods, finishing with 33 saves and coming up with a big stop on Jordan Staal near the crease and another tying chance from Andrei Svechnikov off a faceoff win in the third period.

Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis and Sebastian Aho scored for Carolina, while Andersen finished with 19 saves.

The Hurricanes also missed on multiple late chances to increase their lead, with Jordan Martinook — who had a highlight-reel sliding effort to knock away a loose puck from the goal line — and Jake Guentzel each pinging the metal past Shesterkin to come up empty.