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Hurricanes’ victory puts Rangers on the brink

Carolina's Vincent Trocheck scores against the Rangers' goaltender Igor Shesterkin in the Hurricanes' victory in Raleigh, N.C., in Game 5.Chris Seward/Associated Press

Vincent Trocheck buried a shorthanded goal, Teuvo Teravainen had a rare power-play score for Carolina and the Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers, 3-1, on Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C., to take a 3-2 lead in the second-round playoff series.

Andrei Svechnikov also scored, beating Igor Shesterkin with a backhander on a breakaway midway through the third period as the Hurricanes protected their Game 5 lead.

It was part of yet another strong home performance for the Metropolitan Division champions, who improved to 7-0 at home in the postseason.

The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference finals to face reigning two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay by winning Game 6 in New York on Saturday, though they are 0-5 away from PNC Arena so far despite tying for the NHL lead in regular-season road wins.

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Carolina's Teuvo Teravainen celebrates his second-period goal Thursday night.Bruce Bennett/Getty

The Hurricanes controlled long stretches of play by sustaining their aggressive style, finishing with a 34-17 shot advantage to keep the pressure on Shesterkin while also easing the burden on Antti Raanta (16 saves) in Carolina’s net.

Now Carolina faces the challenge of putting away a team that has been resilient, even stubborn, when facing a series deficit. The Rangers rallied from a 3-1 hole to beat Pittsburgh in a seven-game first-round series, then lost the first two games against Carolina before fighting back to even at home.

Mika Zibanejad scored a power-play goal for New York, winning a first-period faceoff and then drifting to the left side for the putaway just six seconds into the man advantage. Shesterkin — a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy for the league’s top goalie and Hart Trophy for most valuable player — finished with 31 saves against a steady stream of work.

The Rangers also saw a second-period goal by Ryan Strome for a 2-1 lead negated by an offside challenge from Carolina.

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The Hurricanes’ power-play struggles have been going for two months, with coach Rod Brind’Amour preaching the importance of execution more than any major changes to what had been one of the league’s top-10 units to that point. But things just hadn’t improved, with Carolina coming into this game converting on just 9 of 89 opportunities (10.1 percent) since late March.

Carolina's Andrei Svechnikov, left, celebrates his third-period goal with teammate Vincent Trocheck and the Hurricanes fans Thursday night in Raleigh.Chris Seward/Associated Press

Yet after an 0 for 9 start in the series, the Hurricanes finally broke through with quick and crisp puck movement. Rookie Seth Jarvis zipped the puck to Teravainen for the left-side putaway to beat Shesterkin at 9:47 of the second for the 2-1 lead, marking Carolina’s first goal with the man advantage since the final minutes of Game 6 in the first-round series win against Boston.

Carolina’s first goal came on special teams, too, though this on a perfectly executed shorthanded rush off a turnover by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Jordan Staal carried the puck on the left side until Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller laid out to stop a pass, but Staal lifted the puck off the ice and over Miller’s legs to a charging-in Trocheck on the right side for the 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first.

Blues get boost from Bozak

Tyler Bozak and the St. Louis Blues experienced just about every emotion imaginable over the course of a win-or-season-ends game in which they fell behind by three goals.

Ultimately, they landed on this improbable one — elation.

Bozak scored 3:38 into overtime and the Blues fended off elimination in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, overcoming a pair of deficits in a 5-4 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday night in Denver.

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Bozak, a fourth-line center, unleashed a shot from near the blueline that got past Darcy Kuemper, capping a remarkable comeback for St. Louis.

Flyers interview John Tortorella

John Tortorella interviewed to be the next coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The 63-year-old, who has been working as a television analyst for ESPN this season, confirmed on Tuesday he’s had discussions with Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher. Tortorella most recently coached the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2015-21.

“Very fortunate to have the opportunity,” Tortorella told the network. “But I will leave it at that.”

What does the future hold for John Tortorella?Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

The Flyers fired Mike Yeo on May 3 after they finished eighth in the Metropolitan Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference with 61 points (25-46-11), failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. It was the first time the Flyers missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons since a five-year drought from 1989-94.

Philadelphia was 17-36-7 under Yeo, who was promoted from assistant to replace Alain Vigneault as coach on Dec. 6.

Tortorella is 673-542-132 with 37 ties in 1,383 games as coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, and Blue Jackets. He has the second-most wins by a United States-born coach in NHL history, behind Peter Laviolette (717).

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A two-time winner of the Jack Adams Award voted as NHL coach of the year (2004, 2017), Tortorella led the Lightning to their first Stanley Cup championship in 2004, and the Blue Jackets to their first postseason series victory in 2019, when they became the first team to sweep the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy in a best-of-7 series.