3 Keys: Rangers at Hurricanes, Recreation 1 of Jap Second Spherical

(2M) Rangers at (1M) Hurricanes

Eastern Conference Second Round, Game 1


The Carolina Hurricanes will look to stay perfect at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Rangers at PNC Arena on Wednesday.

The Hurricanes won all four home games in the first round against the Boston Bruins, including 3-2 in Game 7 on Saturday. They were 29-8-4 at home in the regular season.

“We had a great home record the whole year and being in this environment, PNC, with the fans we have of course this gives us a little extra jump in our step,” Hurricanes forward Jesper Fast said. “I know we try to play the same way home and away, but being here gives us a little more confidence and a little more boost having the fans behind us.”

The Rangers were 1-2 on the road in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but their victory came in a must-win Game 6 before they won Game 7 4-3 in overtime at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

They came back from 3-1 down against the Penguins to win the series.

“People weren’t expecting us to maybe get this far or have a shot against this team, but we’re a confident group,” New York defenseman Adam Fox said. “We trust ourselves. We’ve said it all year, the belief in that locker room is high. I think we know what we’re capable of.”

The Rangers are in the second round for the first time since 2017. Only forwards Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad remain from that team.

The Hurricanes have five players who were in the lineup for the Rangers in the 2017 playoffs: Fast, center Derek Stepandefensemen Brady Skjei and Brendan Smithand goalie Antti Raanta.

“Seeing that, yeah, it’s a little weird,” Fast said. “But that’s how it goes with the business side to it, so it happens. But it’s a little different.”

Carolina won three of four games against New York during the regular season, including 4-2 on April 12 and 4-3 on April 26.

Teams that win Game 1 are 503-232 (68.4 percent) winning a best-of-7 series, including 4-4 ​​in the first round this season.

Here are 3 keys to Game 1:

1. Raanta’s round

Raanta will start again for Carolina while Frederik Andersen is out because of a lower-body injury. Andersen has not started skating, so it’s Raanta’s net and he has an opportunity to build off what he did in the first round.

Raanta started six of the seven games against the Bruins, winning three, with a 2.37 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He was 3-0 with a 1.28 GAA and .962 save percentage in four home starts against Boston, allowing four goals on 105 shots.

“Everybody is happy for him,” Hurricanes forward Teuvo Teravainen said. “Now he looks really confident out there. You can just see everybody trusts him and he trusts the team. It’s both ways. He’s done a great job for us.”

2. Rangers breakouts

The Hurricanes play a straight-ahead game with a lot of speed and an aggressive forecheck. They will push the pace and get the puck deep in the offensive zone. They want to hem the Rangers in for 30-45 seconds at a time.

New York’s ability to break the pressure by getting the puck and getting it out of the zone quickly and cleanly is paramount to its ability to have success in this series, especially in Game 1, when each team wants to establish its style of play.

“That’s the key, getting it out,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “You don’t have to make the fancy play in the [defensive] zone. Get it over the blue line. Get their [defensemen] pinching down, they make some mistakes and we get some odd-man rushes. That’s how you get a team to back off a little bit.”

3. Shutting off New York’s power

The Rangers have one of the most dangerous power plays in the NHL. They converted at 31.6 percent in the first round (6-for-19) after finishing the fourth regular season at 25.2 percent.

But the Hurricanes had the best penalty kill during the regular season at 88.0 percent. They were 11-for-12 (91.7 percent) in the four wins against Boston and 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) in the three losses.

The Hurricanes struggled against the Bruins when they got into too much penalty trouble; In Games 3 and 4 they were on the kill a combined 14 times.

“You’re going to have penalties, they are going to happen,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “There is going to be the random stuff and then there are going to be the real penalties. It’s just not taking ones you shouldn’t because they are so good. Too much talent over there to give them those opportunities.”

Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Frank Vatrano

Artemi PanarinRyan StromeAndrew Copp

Alexis LafreniereFilip ChitilKaapo Kakko

Tyler MotteKevin RooneyRyan Reaves

Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox

K’Andre MillerJacob Trouba

Justin BrownBraden Schneider

Igor Shesterkin

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Libor Hajek, Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier, Jonny Brodzinski, Dryden Hunt

Injured: Barclay Goodrow (lower body), Sammy Blais (knee)

Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoSeth Jarvis

Max DomiVincent Trocheck — Teuvo Teravainen

Nino NiederreiterJordan Staal — Jesper Fast

Steven LorentzJesperi KotkaniemiMartin Necas

Jaccob SlavinTony DeAngelo

Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce

Brendan Smith — Ian Cole

Antti Raanta

Pyotr Kochetkov

Scratched: Ethan BearDerek Stepan

Injured: Frederik Andersen (lower body), Jordan Martinook (lower body)

Status report

Blais, who tore the ACL in his right knee in November, skated with the Rangers on Wednesday for the first time since having surgery in December. Gallant did not rule out the forward returning during the playoffs. … Lindgren did not practice Tuesday but will play. … Martinook continues to practice, but the forward will miss his fifth straight game.


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