RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - MAY 30: Barclay Goodrow #21 of the New York Rangers reacts following their 6-2 victory in Game Seven of the Second Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on May 30, 2022 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Next up: the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions. That is who the New York Rangers will see beginning Wednesday night when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.

On Sunday night, the dream became a reality when the Broadway Blue Shirts defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It was the first time Carolina lost at home in the playoffs.

First-period goals by Adam Fox and Chris Kreider pushed the Rangers to an early 2-0 lead, and the onslaught was only just beginning.

Ryan Strome’s goal put the Rangers up 3-0 late in the second period and was quickly backed up by another Krieder goal in the early stages of the third period, all but putting this game to rest.

The Hurricanes could never get anything going offensively as they struggled to get anything past Rangers superstar goalie Igor Shesterkin, who recorded 37 saves on Monday night.

It was the second straight game in which Shesterkin recorded 37 saves. The All-Star enjoyed a monumental series, in which he surrendered only allowed 12 goals in seven games or 1.71 goals per game. It is a stark contrast from his struggles in the net against Pittsburgh where he allowed 3.57 goals per game. He was by far and away from the most important player on the ice for the Rangers in this series.

Now the attention turns to the Lightning. Tampa Bay swept Florida out of the semi-finals what seems like forever ago. They are two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions and have factors of age and experience on their side going in. It will be fascinating to see how Tampa skates against the Rangers and how Shesterkin handles their offense.

The action begins Wednesday night down in western Florida.