Smith’s goal off a feed from Sebastian Aho marked his first postseason goal in nine years, and it was the difference in a tightly defended game by both teams. Aho added a clinching empty-net score to finish this off with 1.8 seconds left as Raanta held up.
Carolina improved to 6-0 at home in the playoffs and has a 2-0 lead for the second straight round. Now they face the challenge of winning on the road for the first time in the postseason after claiming a seven-game first-round series against Boston in which no team managed a road win.
They’ll get their first chance to win at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 on Sunday.
Igor Shesterkin had 20 saves for the Rangers.