RALEIGH, NC — The Rangers return to New York with two games to zero in their second-round series against the Hurricanes.
Between their stagnant offense, power play struggles and weak contributions from their top guns, the Rangers did little to counter the limited offense generated by the Hurricanes and ultimately lost 2-0 in Game 2. Friday night at the PNC Arena in front of a much rowdier crowd than when the series opened.
The Hurricanes haven’t even come close to their best form in those two games, and that’s partly because of Rangers. But the Rangers need to be at their best to beat Carolina, and that hasn’t come through this series either.
Even when the Hurricanes weren’t able to play their usual relentless forecheck or generate high shot totals, what they put on the ice proved enough to defeat a Rangers team that didn’t click. the attack. Rangers’ most recent goal in this series came at 7:07 in the first period of Game 1.
While the Kid Line of Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko has been playoff history for Rangers, the lack of contributions from their front six has been detrimental.
Notable Night Rangers stats were as follows:
Chris Kreider: four minutes in the penalty area, a gift and no shots on goal. Artemi Panarin: three gifts and zero shots on goal. Mika Zibanejad: two shots on goal and a gift. Ryan Strome: a shot on goal. Frank Vatrano: two shots on goal and a gift. Andrew Copp: zero shots on goal.
It was impossible for Rangers to do anything offensively while in and out of the penalty area all night. The Hurricanes received the same number of penalties as the Rangers, but they were much more productive with their time on the penalty kill and on the power play.
Carolina finished the regular season with the NHL’s best penalty kill percentage at 88%, and that skill was on full display in their win.
After former Blueshirt Brady Skjei was called for a four-minute high-sticking penalty that got Lafrenière’s blood flowing, the Hurricanes capitalized on a haywire Rangers power play. Sebastian Aho fed another ex-Ranger, Brendan Smith, on a shorthanded run for a one-timer that put the Hurricanes on the board at 15:54 of the second period.
Aho added an empty net in the closing seconds of the third period.
Carolina had changed its lines in the third period of the Game 1 overtime win, so Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour went with the same setup for Game 2. The Rangers started from the same way they have the last four games of this playoffs, but head coach Gerard Gallant turned things around late in the second period on Friday night to try and spark something within his team.
Gallant tipped Lafrenière on the second line and fended off Copp on the third line. He also moved Kakko to the top line with Zibanejad and Kreider at one point, and also used a makeshift unit which included Kevin Rooney, Copp and Vatrano. But none of this had the effect Gallant would have wanted.
After there were only two penalties called in the series opener, Game 2 was decidedly nastier, with six violations committed in the first period alone on the way to 10 overall.
In addition to three four-on-four streaks, the Rangers also had a four-on-three advantage for 49 seconds and 6:49 at five-on-four to make 7:38 of power play time they couldn’t shoot. profit.