Connect with us


Rangers and Canes Roll in First Round

Buckle up for a heavyweight matchup in the second round.

As most people predicted (including us), the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes rolled through their first-round matchups in a combined nine games. While the top-seeded Rangers were able to sweep Washington, it took Carolina five to finish off the Islanders thanks to an overtime loss in Game 4. Now, we’re set up for two of the league’s best to meet in what should be a fantastic Conference Semifinal between the Rangers and Canes. In the regular season, these teams met three times. New York came out victorious in two low-scoring battles, while Carolina grabbed their lone win in a 6-1 beatdown at MSG. A series like this is as tough as any to predict, but after going over what to expect from both teams, we’ll try our best.

New York Rangers

Sports fans in the Big Apple are some of the best in the world, and the Rangers will certainly be trying to lean on them in the opening games of this series. After going 30-11-0 at MSG in the regular season, New York beat the Caps 4-1 and 4-3 in the opening games of the first round. Although this Rangers and Canes series should be much more evenly matched, New York’s home ice advantage could play a large factor, especially if this one ends up going seven games. 

The biggest factor, though, will most likely be the play of Igor Shesterkin. When he’s on his game, Shesterkin is one of the best goalies in the world and his numbers in the first round reflect that. In the four wins against Washington, the New York netminder held a save percentage of .930% and a GAA of 1.75. The Canes will certainly be more of an offensive challenge for New York, but history shows us that their offence can, in fact, be shut down pretty well. Of course, this year’s additions of Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Kuznetsov add some firepower, but in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, they were swept after scoring just six goals in four games. New York best bet might just be trying to imitate exactly what Florida did a season ago while taking advantage of their own opportunities with a core of very talented forwards. 

Carolina Hurricanes

On the other side, we’ve got the Carolina Hurricanes. Although this team has been a legit contender in the East for some time now, Carolina is still looking for their first Finals appearance since 2006. In the crease, Frederik Andersen may not come with the leaguewide reputation that Igor Shesterkin does, but he’s been terrific recently. Since coming back from injury on March 7th, the Canes’ goaltender is 13-1-1 and is yet to allow more than three goals in a game. Of course, some of those numbers are also thanks to the defensive group in front of him. There may not be a deeper core of blueliners in the NHL than Carolina’s, and New York’s talented top six will have their hands full with that matchup all series long. 

Up front, the Rangers and Canes are both very dangerous teams. While Carolina doesn’t have a top end point guy like Artemi Panarin, they’re a very deep team with three lines that can put the puck in the net. As mentioned above, Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Kuznetsov have been great additions, but the core of Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis, Andrei Svechnkikov, Martin Necas and Tuevo Teravainen has been solid for a while now. They’ll have a tough task with Igor Shesterkin in New York’s net, but they should be up for the challenge.

Rangers and Canes – The Pick

I think if one team gets a few more guys on a hot streak in this series, that’ll be the difference. Goals will not be easy to come by, as both squads are backed by very good groups on the blueline and goalies who can steal games. Experience also washes out a little, as both the Rangers and Canes have been to the Eastern Conference Finals in the last two years. This one really is a toss-up. However, if I had to make a pick, let’s go with the CANES in 7. The Rangers weren’t tested at all in the first round, and I think Carolina’s resilience really showed in their series against the Islanders. That resilience might just win them a pivotal game in this series. 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Must See

More in Hockey