After a pair of seven-game fights that may have put an end to two establishments in the Eastern Conference, the second-round series between New York and the Carolinas is set.
The Carolina Hurricanes, on the other hand, have defeated Boston in what may be the last playoff for Bruins legend Patrice Bergeron. The New York Rangers, on the other hand, were outpaced by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who may have seen Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Chris Letang take the ice for the last time as teammates.
The Canes and Rangers have only crossed the tracks once in the playoffs before, but you don’t have to dig a lot to find this one piece of history. Just two years ago in 2020, when the league added a playoff round to its post-season format, the Kans beat Rangers 3-0.
Both teams have continued their rise since then. Rangers have found themselves in a great storm this year, seeing young prospects begin to blossom, their superstars putting on their career years, and Igor Shesterkin providing a season for the ages. In Raleigh, the Canes simply continued to build on the momentum that was getting stronger year after year, and the club kept adding talent and moving forward.
The two teams met four times during the regular season, and the Canes had three wins in those encounters. Carolina dealt with New York by chance in the first half, winning 6-3. Rangers responded by closing out 2-0 the next day, before Canes netted 4-2 and 4-3 wins over the next two meetings.
While the singles playoff fight between the two suggests the history between these two clubs may be tenuous, the presence of No. 77 on the Carolina back end ensures otherwise. Leaving New York in disgrace after more off-ice drama than the Rangers can handle, Tony D’Angelo now meets his former club in the second round, dressed in the Carolinas’ colors.
Who gets the last laugh?
Record face to face
The story of how hurricanes got here:
It wasn’t easy for Rodbrand Amour. But they removed it just as their coach did in his playing days. Heading into the post-season without goalkeeper #1 and then temporarily losing second place – similar to their current first-round opponent – Carolina kept going and making it alive.
It’s sure to be a lively first round early on. The Canes dominated Boston through games 1 and 2, outperforming them 10-3, and they seemed to have a B number. Then the veteran Bruins turned around and did the same with them in games 3 and 4, beating Carolina 10-4. This strange trend continued over the next two games – 5-1 Cans win, 5-2 Bruins win – until Game 7.
And when that all-important final was won, it was unlikely it would be the characters she wanted to achieve – Max Dome, who has only scored seven points in the last 19 games of the season since the trade with Raleigh, but rose to the moment with two goals and another assistant as he battled His team win 3-2. That’s a good sign for Carolina, whose offensive success has come from all corners of the squad so far – and something they’ll need to keep going if they are to keep Igor Shesterkin looking human in this playoff.
The story of how the Rangers got here:
It was a wild and wild ride that got the Rangers into the second round. It was no surprise that their first Test went seven games since it took three times of extra time to finish the first game. During the first four games of the series, the Rangers looked down and out – save for a 5-2 win in Game 2, they watched the pens take that grueling sequential opening and then flick them off two dominant displays in games 3 and 4, collecting 14 goals and pushing Rangers to the edge of the abyss.
Most annoying to the Blueshirts team was Shesterkin’s play, who looked far from looking almost certain to win the Vezina Trophy this season.
But the Rangers fought. Playing a brutally tough match from start to finish whistle, they tilt the chain with physical force before their skill flips with them and the goalkeeper finds his match. The Pens found themselves without their leader and led the offensive threat Sidney Crosby; Without defender duo Brian Dumoulin; Without adding the six best players in the deadline, Rijkaard Rakel; And with the third cage, Luis Domingo, who runs the cage.
Amid the chaos of that roster, New York reclaimed two games, keeping their season alive and putting the Penguins on top. While Crosby, Raquel and rookie Tristan Gary all got back into a do-or-die game, it wasn’t enough to slow the Rangers – especially Zibanegad, who found his game as soon as he managed to escape the match with Crosby, and kept rolling after the return of No. 87 by scoring the decisive equalizer at the end of the series. . Artemi Panarin pinned him in overtime, putting all three of Rangers’ key stars – Panarin, Zipanegad and Chris Kreider – on the board with goals scored in the most important game of the season.
Regular Season Numbers 5-on-5 via Natural Stat Trick
Regular season team stats
Factor X Hurricanes: Ante Ranta
As was the case with the first round fight at Canes, and as is likely the case for this entire round, it all comes down to Raanta. Decisive to the Canes’ success this season, as they finished in the First Division for the second year in a row, was their ability to keep pucks off target. They were the best in the league in this regard, setting a ridiculous +76 goal difference in the process as Ranta and starter Frederic Andersen won the William Jennings title. But Andersen is now on the sidelines, and the team’s success will rise and fall with naughty reserve Ranta. He did everything he was asked during the first round, delivering a dominant 0.927 save percentage in the six games he played (young Peter Kochetkov had to score for one tilt after the collision forced Ranta to the sidelines as well). If he can keep rolling, the stick has enough points in the rest of the list to push that run forward. But it all depends on the number 32.
Rangers X-Factor: Mika Zibanjad
If Rangers loyalists are looking for reason to worry before entering this second round of the series—here’s why: In every game New York has played against the Kans this season, Rangers sniper, Kreider, has scored a goal. And in three of those competitions, it wasn’t enough. While the Rangers have plenty of attacking talent up front and back end, Canes have come far above them this season in overall offensive success – and as a bonus, they were the only team to finish the season with fewer goals in the net. If the Rangers wanted to make it to the third turn, it would take more than Crider. But the good news is that the park just watched Zebaninejad come to life during the latter half of the team’s first-round match. Number 93 has always been one to score in groups, and if he can keep putting pucks in the net during this next list of games, that could be the difference.
Game 1: Wednesday, May 18, 7 p.m. (Sportsnet East, Ontario Pacific)
Game 2: Friday, May 20, 8 p.m. (SportsNet East, Ontario and Pacific)
Game 3: Sunday, May 22, 3:30 p.m. (Sportscent and Sportsnet 360)
Game 4: Tuesday, May 24, 7 p.m. (Sportsnet East, Ontario Pacific)
* Game 5: Thursday, May 26th, to be announced later
* Game 6: Saturday, May 28, TBD
* Game 7: Monday, May 30, TBD