Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin deflects a shot by the Hurricanes...

Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin deflects a shot by the Hurricanes during the second period of an NHL game in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday. Credit: AP/Karl B DeBlaker

RALEIGH, N.C. — Igor Shesterkin did some superhuman things to keep the Rangers in the game for most of two periods Thursday, giving them a chance to come back and beat the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1, at PNC Arena. Afterward, former Hurricane Vincent Trocheck was asked a simple question:

Does anything Shesterkin does surprise you anymore?

“Yes, it still does,’’ Trocheck said. “He made some enormous saves that probably won us that game.’’

Shesterkin did in fact make some great saves — 29 in all and 24 in the first two periods, when the Hurricanes dominated play. He was named the game’s first star after the Rangers rallied to win, with Adam Fox scoring the tiebreaking goal at 4:01 of the third period.

Shesterkin improved to 33-12-7. His win total is the second-best in the NHL.

“Shesty obviously kept us in that hockey game. We found a way to battle back and get into it. And we had an excellent third period,’’ coach Gerard Gallant said. “We played well in the third period, we moved our feet, did a lot of good things in the third. But you know, Shesty was the difference, for sure.’’

The teams met for the second time in three days after the Hurricanes rallied to beat the Rangers, 3-2, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

The Rangers (42-20-10, 94 points) won the regular-season series three games to one. It also tightened the Metropolitan Division race, with the Rangers pulling to within six points of first-place Carolina (46-16-8, 100) and within four of the idle Devils (45-18-8). The Rangers have played two more games than Carolina and one more than the Devils.

For most of the first two periods, the Rangers didn’t look as if they’d be able to hang with the Hurricanes, who dominated possession in the opening period and led 1-0 on a goal by Sebastian Aho at 16:47. The Rangers were fortunate to be that close, as they were outshot 13-3 in the period, but Shesterkin was fantastic.

They were outshot 25-11 over two periods and 30-16 for the game, but Shesterkin downplayed the ugly shot totals.

“I think all goalies like when they face a lot of shots,’’ he said. “Basically, it’s all blue-line shots, without traffic, so it’s much easier than when you have 12 shots in a game and six [of them are] breakaways.’’

The game seemed to start turning when Shesterkin made a special save on Carolina’s Jesse Puljujarvi, sliding post-to-post left-to-right to get his blocker on Puljujarvi’s short-range one-timer at 7:15 of the second.

After that, the Rangers seemed to wake up and started playing better.

Artemi Panarin tied it 1-1 at 10:33 of the second period on a pretty play in which Vladimir Tarasenko played a pass to Mika Zibanejad streaking up the right wing and Zibanejad sent a pass cross-ice for Panarin, who one-timed it into the gaping left side of the net before goalie Frederik Andersen (14 saves) could get over.

The Rangers took the lead on Fox’s first goal in 25 games. His last one had come Jan. 23 in a 6-2 win at the Garden over the Florida Panthers.

“I don’t score too often in any season,’’ Fox said when asked about his long scoring drought. “We’ve been winning games, and I’m a pass-first guy anyway. But when you’re able to put the puck in the back of the net, any player would say it feels good, obviously, especially when it’s, you know, to break a 1-1 game in the third.

“So yeah, I know, it had been a while, but again, it’s not my game to put the puck in the back of the net. It’s nice when you do, though.’’

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