The second-round matchup series between the Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers has been a very tight series. Every game has been closely contested and is full of stingy defence. After two convincing wins at home, the New York Rangers found a way to get back in the series. Heading into Game 4, the Carolina Hurricanes lead the series 2-1 in the best of seven.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers A Close Series
For the Hurricanes, it is the same story but in a different series. In their first-round matchup with the Boston Bruins, the Hurricanes won every game on home ice. To start the series, they won each game and outscored the Bruins by a margin of 10-3. This series is scripted the same way. The Hurricanes have taken the first two games at home and followed that up with a Game 3 loss on the road.
Carolina is a much better team on home ice than on the road. On home ice, Carolina has a +15 goal differential whereas on the road it is a -10. Carolina owns a 6-0 record on home ice while also being 0-4 on the road in these playoffs.
As for the Rangers, they are being down in a series is nothing new to them. In Round 1, the Rangers found themselves down 3-1. Not only that, but the Rangers were also down in every game while mounting the comeback. A “one game at a time” attitude has seen the Rangers get back in this series.
This series is a good one and has many stories that have shaped this series into what it is.
The team with the scorching hot power play is going up against the stingiest defence and penalty kill. Even strength the play has dominated this series, and the penalty kill has reigned superior for both teams.
Coming into the playoffs, Carolina had the league’s best penalty kill with an 88% success rate. After the first round, they had the best penalty kill among playoff contenders with a 79% success rate. And they have smothered the Rangers regarding special teams’ play.
The Rangers, coming into the second round, went 6/21 on the power play against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and that power play has been their bread and butter all season long. The Rangers are only 1/7 this series with the man advantage, as Mika Zibanejad scored his first of the series in Game 3. The Hurricanes’ penalty kill was perfect on home ice. Carolina took advantage of that as Brendan Smith scored the game-winning goal while shorthanded in Game 2 on a cross-ice pass from Sebastian Aho.
The surprise has been the Rangers penalty kill. They’ve adapted to their opponent in this series and have been playing better defensively. The Rangers have a 100% success rate at killing penalties. The Hurricanes are 0/7 in this series and have no answers for the Rangers’ penalty kill.
In a series where you would have seen offensive power flying high, it’s been the defence and the goaltending stealing the show.
Low Scoring Affairs
During the regular season, both teams finished top two in the league for goals against. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta won the Jennings Trophy with the fewest goals allowed. The Hurricanes allowed 200 goals, while the Rangers allowed 204. There is a reason they finished top two in this category and it’s on display in this series.
Both teams scored a lot of goals against their first-round opponents. The Rangers had 28 goals while the Hurricanes had 24. This series has been different for both these teams.
In each win in the first round, Carolina scored five goals in each game except for Game 7. In the three games this series played, they scored a total of 5 goals.
The Rangers scored 5 goals on three separate occasions in the first round. The team scored four goals in their Game 7 thriller. In this series, they only have four goals to show after their offensive outburst in the first round. They also suffered a shutout loss in Game 2.
Still no Andersen? Still no problem. Raanta has proved he can carry the load and has taken his stellar play into this series. In Game 1, Raanta made 27 saves and finished with a .964 save percentage. Raanta followed that up with a 22 save shutout and a perfect save percentage of 1.000. Despite letting in two goals in Game 3, Raanta still boasts a goals against average in the series with 0.99.
Igor Shesterkin has been stellar on his end as well. Shesterkin has allowed two goals only once in this series. In the three games played so far, he has a goals against average of 1.33 and a save percentage of .956.
This has been a great series. Not with the most exciting, but its defence has stepped up, and every play has you on the edge of your seat. No margin for error in these close games, and it will be exciting to see how this series shapes out. Game 4 will be Tuesday night in New York.