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Zibanejad has 2 goals and 1 assist as Rangers beat Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 1

New York — Mika Zibanejad helped the New York Rangers get off to a strong start in their first game in a week, and they held on to earn a big win in their second-round series opener against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Zibanejad had two goals and an assist, Artemi Panarin also scored and the Rangers defeated the Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 1 on Sunday.

Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist, and Chris Kreider had two assists as the Rangers, playing for the first time since completing their first-round sweep of Washington a week earlier, won their seventh straight, including the regular season.

“We really wanted to get off to a good start, especially at home, Game 1,” Zibanejad said. “I’ve had a few days off and been able to rest, and that was the biggest thing for me. The boys were excited to play and if we could score on our chances early and get a bit of momentum, that was good.”

Igor Shesterkin stopped 22 shots and became the third goalie in franchise history to open a postseason with five straight wins, joining Dave Kerr (1937) and Mike Richter (1994).

“A week after the last time you played, I thought the start was really good and we followed that all game,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said.

Jaccob Slavin, Martin Necas and Seth Jarvis each had a goal for Carolina, which last played Tuesday night when it won the first round against the New York Islanders. Frederik Andersen finished with 19 saves.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night.

The Hurricanes had the second-best power play in the NHL on the season and the best penalty killing unit. However, they went 0 for 5 with five shots on goals during the benefits against a Rangers team that was third in the PK. New York was 2-on-2 on its power plays totaling 23 seconds.

“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “On a couple of (penalty) kills we didn’t execute quite well and they did that. … We were just one step off and that’s the difference. It’s hard because we played pretty hard. Overall, as As the match progressed, it got a little better.”

Necas saw action alone early in the third period against Shesterkin and quickly put it through the goalie’s legs to pull the Hurricanes to 3-2 at 2:48.

Panarin beat Andersen from the left circle at 8:21 to restore the Rangers’ two-goal lead. It was his third of the playoffs after finishing with a career-high 49 in the regular season.

Carolina pulled Andersen for an extra skater with three minutes left, and Jarvis scored from the left side with 1:45 to go.

Shesterkin made a glove save on Andrei Svechnikov with just under a minute left to preserve the Rangers’ lead.

Jacob Trouba was ejected for cross-checking 2.5 minutes into the second period. The Hurricanes had one shot on goal during the lead. After the penalty expired, the Hurricanes’ Jordan Staal escaped, but his attempt was pushed aside by Shesterkin.

The Hurricanes got another power play with 4:46 left in the period, but didn’t get a shot on goal during the lead. ‘

Zibanejad got the Rangers on the scoreboard with the game’s first shot on goal (2:46 into the game). Jack Roslovic skated around the back of the net and sent a pass forward, which Zibanejad fired past Andersen.’

Slavin tied the score 1:02 later after the Hurricanes’ first shot when he fired a shot from the left point that bounced and went over Shesterkin’s right shoulder.

Carolina defender Brady Skjei sent a shot off the right post 20 seconds later.

The Hurricanes got the first power play of the day when Kreider was ejected for boarding at 6:14. Just over a minute later, Necas skated into Shesterkin from the right side and hit the left post.

New York took control midway through the period when former Ranger Tony DeAngelo was ejected for trespassing. New York needed just 9 seconds to take advantage when Kreider got the puck on the right door and sent a no-look pass left to Zibanejad, who fired it home.

The Rangers got their second power play with 3:46 left, and needed just 14 seconds to score when Trocheck backhanded the rebound of Zibanejad’s shot past Andersen to make it 3-1.

“First game, new round and the crowd was into it,” Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho said. “We need a better start.”

It was Trocheck’s fourth of the playoffs and gave him a goal in four consecutive games and a point in five consecutive games.

“He’s someone we count on on both sides of the puck, offensively and defensively,” Laviolette said. “Tonight was more of a reflection of the regular season.”

Zibanejad is on an 11-match point streak, including the regular season, with five goals and 13 assists in the period. Roslovic extended his points streak to six games.