WASHINGTON (AP) — Artemi Panarin scored the go-ahead goal on the power play early in the third period, Igor Shesterkin made 23 saves and the New York Rangers advanced to the second round of the playoffs by finishing off a sweep of the Washington Capitals with a 4-2 victory in Game 4 on Sunday night.

Trade deadline pickup Jack Roslovic sealed it with an empty-netter with 51 seconds left, and the Rangers will next face either the Carolina Hurricanes or crosstown-rival New York Islanders with a spot in the Eastern Conference final at stake. Carolina leads that series 3-1.

They’ll get the benefit of some extra rest thanks to Panarin’s goal with 16:39 left in regulation, 11 seconds after T.J. Oshie was penalized for high-sticking Vincent Trocheck, which helped them avoid overtime or this series returning to Madison Square Garden for a Game 5 on Wednesday. The Presidents’ Trophy winners for having the best regular season in the NHL needed just four to vanquish the Capitals and become the first team to advance this spring.

New York moves on thanks to another dominant performance from Trocheck, who was the best player on the ice all series. Trocheck long before drawing the crucial penalty scored on the power play and broke up a scoring chance by Alex Ovechkin, who was held off the scoresheet entirely through four games — the first time that has happened in a single postseason in the Capitals captain’s 15 trips.

But he was not Washington’s only problem, and part of the lack of offense was Shesterkin, who several times sparked chants of “Igor! Igor!” from the many Rangers fans in attendance. He turned aside Dylan Strome 14 seconds after Kaapo Kakko scored in the first minute to put them ahead and later made back-to-back saves on Tom Wilson’s point-blank chances on the doorstep.

Trocheck, Shesterkin and MVP candidate Panarin leading a victory is nothing new, but Kakko contributing made him the 11th New York player to score a goal in the series. That came after Nick Jensen turned the puck over on his first shift back from a two-week injury absence, and Kakko beat Charlie Lindgren for a goal that could boost his confidence after a rough regular season.

Lindgren, who has not lacked self-belief, couldn’t again play the hero despite stopping 19 of the 22 shots he faced. Youngsters Martin Fehervary and Hendrix Lapierre scored for Washington, a significant underdog now able to take solace in making the playoffs as a building block for the future.


Rangers: Prepare to face the Hurricanes or Rangers in a series that cannot start until Thursday at the very earliest and likely after that.

Capitals: Go into another offseason of change with questions about the future of winger T.J. Oshie, among others.


AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL