The New York Rangers were desperately determined to make something good happen Tuesday.
The Carolina Hurricanes wouldn't allow it. Not in this postseason series.
The Hurricanes took a 4-1 victory over the Rangers, ending the best-of-five qualifying series with a third straight victory at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena.
The Canes will advance to the 16-team Stanley Cup playoffs and will be matched against one of the Eastern Conference's top four seeds, which are still to be determined. The Canes also could have injured defenseman Dougie Hamilton back and be close to full strength next week.
The Canes heroes were many Tuesday. Goalie James Reimer was at his best, making some spectacular stops among his 37 saves. Sebastian Aho again showed off his offensive wizardry, scoring in the third period with a quick, crafty move, adding a second goal with a late empty netter and also assisting on a goal in a three-point night.
Teuvo Teravainen scored a second-period goal for a 1-1 tie as the Aho line again struck, and Warren Foegele's score in the third gave the Canes a 2-1 lead. Aho then undressed Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo with a one-on-one move and beat Shesterkin tomake it 3-1.
The Rangers, seeking to stave off elimination, took their first lead of the series when forward Chris Kreider scored in the first minute of the second period. But the Canes kept pushing.
After goalie Petr Mrazek started the first two games for Carolina, Canes coach Rod Brind'Amour turned to Reimer in Game 3. Brind'Amour said before the series he would use both goalies and stuck to that plan in the third game in four days.
Shesterkin's play before the NHL pause in March helped the Rangers surge in the Eastern Conference standings, and the Russian was expected to start Game 1. But Shesterkin was ruled unfit to play and veteran Henrik Lundqvist could not continue the success he has had against Carolina is so many seasons, including this one.
The first period was scoreless but not without some big plays or hits.