Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers celebrates his...

Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers celebrates his second period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The NHL Draft Lottery held at the NHL studios in Secaucus, New Jersey, on Tuesday served as a reminder that the Rangers were able to draft Alexis Lafreniere in 2020 thanks to some favorable bouncing pingpong balls that allowed them to pick first.

And Lafreniere’s two-goal performance in the Rangers’ 4-3 double-overtime win over the Hurricanes in Game 2 of their second-round series against the Hurricanes at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night continued his seasonlong development of living up to the potential everybody saw in him four years ago.

He snapped a 27-game goal drought in the playoffs by doubling his career playoff goal output. But unlike last season, when he went without a point in seven games as the Devils eliminated the Rangers in the first round, Lafreniere had four assists in the Rangers’ first-round sweep of the Capitals and added another in Sunday’s 4-3 win in Game 1.

“For me, it’s just a continuation of his regular season,” said Peter Laviolette, who placed Lafreniere on Vincent Trocheck’s right wing along with Artemi Panarin early in his tenure as Rangers coach.

“There’s good chemistry on that line that has not been touched the entire year. He was going tonight. When a player is going and you can see it — and I saw it — you can find time. You can double shift him. That’s the same way as the regular season. I think he’s taken the regular season and the confidence that he got from that and he’s bringing it into the playoffs.”

Lafreniere, still 22, logged 23:12 in Game 2 with five shots, one behind Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad for the team lead.

“He’s a really important piece,” Panarin said. “He grew up, you can see it this year. Just an unbelievable player. He has everything and he helps a lot for the team.”

But prior to Game 2, his last playoff goal had come on May 11, 2022.

That changed at 10:53 of the first period as he beat goalie Frederik Andersen to the short side over his right shoulder from the left circle to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

Lafreniere’s second goal tied it at 2-2 at 7:32 of the second period as he redirected defenseman Adam Fox’s pinpoint feed to the crease.

“It was good,” said Lafreniere, who had 28 goals and 29 assists for 57 points in 82 games — all career highs — this season. “It’s always fun to score. I’m just trying to play a complete game and playing with Troch and Bread obviously helps a lot.”

Lafreniere nearly completed a hat trick 90 seconds into the third period but his shot went high at the crease during a scramble with Andersen on his back.

It didn’t diminish his game. Or his playoff run so far.

“I think it’s always been there,” captain Jacob Trouba said. “Coming into the league at a young age in New York is not the easiest of roles to be put in. He’s confident. He’s having fun. I think that’s when he’s at his best. He honestly is a kid at heart. That’s a compliment.”

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