Prediction: Rangers in 5
Result: Hurricanes in 3
I thought Artemi Panarin would be the difference maker, exposing shaky Carolina goaltending. Although I highlighted the Hurricanes’s top line in the series preview, they took their game to the next level. Aho looked elite, and Svechnikov was a human highlight reel, scoring the first hat trick in franchise post season history. Hats off. (I for one have always been in favor of forever renaming the lacrosse style goal “The Svech.” Talk to me all you want about how it was done collegiately, this guy scored the first two in the best league in the world).
The Rangers had to start Lundqvist after Shesterkin was deemed “unfit to play” and had some trouble finding any offense. They showed more fight in Game 3 with little result. Ultimately, the better team won.
Must-see TV: Sebastian Aho (Hurricanes #20)
I was listening to the Dan Patrick Show the other day, and they were debating whether CONNOR MCDAVID is appointment television. He is undoubtedly in that category. But as each team moves to the next round, I’ll highlight a player on each victorious team that made his case for tuning in. For die-hard hockey fans, a lot of these guys will be household names. For the casual sports fan, just drop these players’ names and mention something about the team’s power play entries and people will think you’re an amateur scout. It’s basically what this blog is.
For Carolina, that was Sebastian Aho. I was shocked after each game that he wasn’t getting upwards of 30 minutes of ice-time, because he was everywhere. He’s tremendously skilled and patient with the puck. He’s been compared to Pavel Datsyuk on multiple occasions, combing dazzling offensive skill with quick defensive take-away’s. As Carolina advances, tune in to see Sebastian Aho.
Carolina plays the loser of the Bruins/Capitals game going on right now (as of publishing, it’s tied 0-0 in the first). The winner of that game plays the Islanders, who have not looked as strong as Carolina. If I’m the Bruins or Caps, I make sure I win this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hurricanes upset either team. [DISCLOSURE: I have a futures bet on both the Canes and Bruins to win the Cup]
Plenty of questions remain for the Rangers. In the short-term, the fanbase can have hope that tomorrow’s Draft Lottery Phase 2 goes there way. They struggled to find their offense in this series, and even though a lot of concerns remain on defense, I’m sure fans won’t mind adding Lafrenière to the mix. But if I’m a Rangers fan, even more than the lottery results, my focus would be on whether this is the last time they’ll see the inevitable Hall of Famer in a Rangers uniform.