Chris Kreider #20 celebrates with Mika Zibanejad #93 and Adam...

Chris Kreider #20 celebrates with Mika Zibanejad #93 and Adam Fox #23 of the New York Rangers following a first period goal 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. Credit: Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Rangers have met and triumphed over every challenge that has been presented to them this season, and now they are about to face their greatest challenge yet.

They find themselves in the Eastern Conference finals, about to match up against the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Rangers are halfway to a Stanley Cup after beating the Carolina Hurricanes, 6-2, on Monday night at PNC Arena in Game 7 of the teams’ second-round playoff series.

The Rangers, riding another great performance from goaltender Igor Shesterkin, earned a Game 7 win for the second time in these playoffs. They pulled off an upset in doing it on the road, as the Hurricanes had been 7-0 at home in the playoffs.

“It’s amazing,’’ said defenseman Adam Fox, who scored the first goal of the game. “We’re a resilient group in there. We’ve said it all year — backs against the wall five times now, and we’ve come through all five. We definitely want to keep this momentum going into the next round. You know, we do have bigger goals.’’

Game 1 of the series against Tampa Bay will be played at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. The series will set up an intriguing goalie matchup between Shesterkin and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is widely considered the best goalie in the league.

The Rangers, who trailed 3-2 in the series after Carolina won Game 5 on Thursday, won two straight to take the series against Carolina, outscoring the Hurricanes 11-4 in the final two games. They had won the final three games to eliminate Pittsburgh after falling behind 3-1 in the first-round series.

Fox, Chris Kreider (two), Ryan Strome, Filip Chytil and Andrew Copp — into an empty net — scored the Rangers’ goals. Shesterkin made 37 saves, 16 in the first period, when Carolina pressured the Blueshirts the most.

The Rangers won the battle of special teams, scoring two power-play goals in three attempts and killing three of four Carolina power plays.

“Again, our goalie led the way and made some great saves at key times,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. “But we took advantage of those power plays early in the hockey game and got that lead on them. And it makes it tough to come back when you get the two-goal lead after the first [period].’’

Fox, at 3:40, and Kreider, at 8:00, scored the power-play goals that put the Rangers ahead 2-0 after the opening 20 minutes. Ryan Strome’s goal at 16:19 of the second made it 3-0, and Kreider’s second goal made it 4-0 at 3:59 of the third.

Former Ranger Tony DeAngelo scored a power-play goal to get Carolina on the board at 8:11 of the third, but Chytil scored 40 seconds later to make it 5-1.

Max Domi gave Carolina some life with a goal that made it 5-2 at 16:13, but Copp’s empty-netter ended any suspense.

Gallant said he thought this was the best game the Rangers played in the series, and it came after he said their loss in Game 5 was their worst game. This time, though, Gallant said he thought all of the Rangers played well.

“Obviously, if we were gonna win tonight, we had to play our best game of the series,’’ he said. “This team [Carolina] hasn’t lost at home, as you all know, and we had to play our best. And we did.’’

Kreider, the longest-tenured Ranger, was asked if this team feels different from the Rangers teams that made the Eastern Conference finals in 2014 and ’15.

“It’s different, because all of a sudden I’m the old guy,’’ Kreider said. “But yeah, I mean, there’s obviously some similarities.

“We just didn’t go away. And that’s always been the, I guess, kind of ingrained in the culture of every good team I’ve been on here, where we don’t go away. Regardless of the score, regardless of where our game’s at, we just keep on trying to find our game. Keep on trying to find our game, keep working, playing for each other.’’

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