After both winning Game 7 on home ice in their respective series, the New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes will be a Second Round matchup. It will be the first time these teams will meet in the playoffs since the play-in series in the bubble during 2020. Carolina won the season series 3-1 in 2021-22.
Ready for the Rangers 😤 pic.twitter.com/Ej9XlpG3bA
— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) May 16, 2022
New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes Preview
How Each Team Got Here
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games. A hard-fought and physical series where it saw the home team win every game. After dominating the first two games and outscoring the Bruins 10-3, it went back and forth since. Game 7 had an unlikely hero in Max Domi. Domi had two goals and an assist, which would stand as the GWG.
The New York Rangers thrillingly defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins. In a series which saw them down 3-1, the Rangers crawled back and won the series 4-3. Artemi Panarin sent Madison Square Garden into a frenzy after playing the hero in Game 7.
Who Will Be In Net For Carolina?
Ever since the days of Cam Ward, the Hurricanes longed for a goalie that could elevate them in the playoffs. Since 2019 the Hurricanes have had Petr Mrazek, Curtis McElhinney, and Alex Nedeljkovic tend the crease. The results were not the greatest. Per Stat Muse, Mrazek put up a 5.02 Goals Against Average, and McElhinney faired no better with a 2.61. Mrazek proved he could not carry the load, and in the next season, he lost all three games. The position became an Achilles Heel for the Carolina Hurricanes.
Come the 2021-22 season, the Hurricanes went out and got their guy in Frederik Andersen. Andersen went on to have a Vezina trophy calibre season which saw him finish with a 2.17 Goals Against Average and a .917 Save Percentage. Entering Round One, he was injured and unavailable. Was all hope lost for Carolina? Nope. Antti Raanta played good hockey. On home ice, Raanta posted a 1.33 Goals Against Average and a 2.37 Goals Against Average throughout the series. Raanta shut the door and got it done. If you’re Brind’Amour, do you put Andersen if he’s fully healthy or keeps the hot hand in the net which got you here?
Special teams are not just something to watch for in this series. It was something to watch for with these two teams all season long. The Rangers had one of the league’s best power-play units, and the Hurricanes finished with the league’s best penalty kill. That level of play for each team carried into the playoffs and is something to watch for this series.
The Hurricanes finished with the league’s best penalty kill, with an 88% kill rate. That’s huge and a testament to how well they defend. In Round One against Boston, despite having 29 attempts, the Bruins cashed in only six times. The Hurricanes finished the series with a 79% kill rate.
The Rangers had the league’s fourth-best powerplay, with a 25.2% success rate. It was a massive recipe for their success during the regular season. It played a significant role against Pittsburgh. With a 31.6% success rate, the Rangers’ power play remained red hot. The unit ranks third among all teams that qualified for the postseason.
In a series where even-strength play is important, playing with the man advantage will be a huge factor. And the Hurricanes’ ability to kill penalties up against a Rangers power play that can put the puck in the net is an X-Factor.
Tony DeAngelo Returns To MSG
Remember when the Rangers had that young offensive-minded defenseman not named Adam Fox? That guy was Tony DeAngelo. DeAngelo was off to a career year in 2019-2020, and you would’ve thought he would be part of the current Rangers core. Some off-ice issues saw him removed from the team and a terminated contract. Carolina took a gamble and signed him. DeAngelo matched that point total from 2019-to-2020, and despite missing a year of game action, DeAngelo did not miss a beat.
Carolina sent the boo birds out to Brad Marchand all series, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of reception DeAngelo receives in New York, given what’s happened. DeAngelo currently leads Carolina in points with eight.
The New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes series looks to be a good one. However, we predict that Carolina wins in six games. As much as Igor Shesterkin can steal a series for the Rangers, Carolina takes the edge. Carolina is the better team at even strength, and they are so stingy defensively. Special teams will be a factor, having home ice should give the edge to Carolina.