It’s about 20 minutes before game time and your starting goalies have been announced: Henrik Lundqvist gets the nod for New York as Igor Shesterkin is deemed “unfit to play.” Petr Mrazek will be between the pipes for the Canes. It’s all happening. Keep it here for regular updates throughout the game.
End of the First: Canes 1, Rangers 0
Tremendous puck movement by the Hurricanes top line and a great pinch by defensemen Jaccob Slavin leads to the Carolina goal. The mobile d-man caught the Rangers sleeping and gets a cross ice feed. Slavin finds room on Lundqvist’s short side. Not a great look for the King there.
Bodies are flying everywhere. Gloves are flying everywhere. Chaos. Playoff hockey is back. The Hurricanes head into the dressing room with the lead after one. Their puck movement is drastically better than New York’s. Rangers will start the second on the man advantage, but if they can’t get on the same page with their zone entries, it might not matter.
Canes 2, Rangers 0
The Hurricanes’ top forwards continue to shine as Aho is able to perfectly redirect a feed from Svechnikov. Special teams are proving to be the difference as this game is getting called extremely tight. My heart goes out to all the guys who don’t play special teams. Will be interesting to note TOI for some guys when this is over.
End of the Second: Canes 2, Rangers 1
Redirections. So hot right now. Redirections. As discussed in the series preview blog, Mrazek has a very aggressive style. Look for the Rangers to continue to look for off net redirections and back door plays to capitalize.
Lundqvist continues to make some key saves but the Rangers are completely out of rhythm. Mika Zibanejad has been a bright spot, and I’ve liked Kaapo Kakko’s compete level in the second half of the game, but their breakouts and zone entries continue to be a real problem.
Canes 3, Rangers 1
Unfortunate bounce here for the Rangers, but it’s still a product of Carolina puck possession following yet another power play. I was concerned by Hank after he gave up the short side goal early, but the other two goals were products of redirections and were certainly not his fault.
Canes 3, Rangers 2
The Rangers desperation sets in, they load up the PK, and Staal finds the back of the net. Their still short handed though, so it might be too little too late.
FINAL: Carolina 3, New York 2
Carolina’s big guns were on their game. I thought Panarin would be the difference in this series and he was nowhere to be found tonight. The Rangers power play needs a lot of work, as they looked like they haven’t played together in 4 months. I wished we could have seen more 5 on 5 hockey, especially with a Rangers power play that couldn’t enter the zone. Sebastian Aho was everywhere tonight.