Hurricanes win Metropolitan Division title after 4-3 victory against Rangers in Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (WNCN) – The Carolina Hurricanes set franchise records with 53 wins and 114 points on Tuesday night in their 4-3 win against the New York Rangers, topping marks set in their 2005-06 Stanley Cup-winning season.

Carolina (53-20-8) wrapped up the Metropolitan Division with one game remaining ahead of the postseason, despite playing one more game than every other team in its division except one. The 114 points is six better than the second-place Rangers (51-23-6).

But the smooth sailing wasn’t like this even a few weeks ago.

“Three weeks ago we were getting a little worried there,” left-winger Jordan Martinook said. “The last four or five we’ve kind of righted the ship. When I first came here to make the playoffs was the pinnacle and now it’s division champs two years in a row.”

The standard is much higher now.

Center Vincent Trochek had a goal and an assist while center Sebastian Aho tallied the game-winner with his 37th goal of the season.

But the real story, once again, was the play of rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov who turned away 31 Ranger shots in just his third appearance with the Hurricanes.

“He’s done a really good job for us,” defenseman Brady Skjei said. “He’s got confidence, he’s got a little swagger to him that I think you need as a goalie with the way he’s been thrown into the game.”

The win ensures the Hurricanes will have home-ice advantage when the playoffs begin next week. However, their opponent is not yet set.

“That’s a pretty big accomplishment,” head coach Rod Brind’Amour of the Metropolitan Division title. “But it’s just not been our goal from day one. It’s kind of hard to not get excited, but we should enjoy it for one night.”

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