(2M) Rangers at (1M) Hurricanes
8 p.m. ET; ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, TVAS
Hurricanes lead best-of-7 series 1-0
The Carolina Hurricanes will try to run their home winning streak in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to six games and extend their lead in the Eastern Conference Second Round when they play the New York Rangers in Game 2 at PNC Arena on Friday.
They would be first team to start the postseason with a home winning streak of six games or more since the Nashville Predators in 2017.
The Hurricanes won 2-1 in overtime in Game 1 on Wednesday, when they were down 1-0 until Sebastian Aho scored with 2:23 remaining in the third period. Ian Cole scored 3:12 into overtime.
“Good thing we won that game and obviously we know it wasn’t good for the first two periods,” Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov said. “Third period we came out and we played [our] game. We’ve got to move that game to [Game 2].”
The Rangers have been one of the most resilient teams in the NHL, with 27 comeback wins in the regular season and three in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the first round to avoid elimination and eventually win the series after being down 3-1.
They also felt good about how they played Wednesday despite the loss, and coach Gerard Gallant said he thinks they will win Game 2 if they replicate their play from Game 1.
“I hope we can play the same way we did in the first two periods for three periods tonight,” Gallant said. “That would be perfect for our team.”
Teams that take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 NHL playoff series are 339-52 (86.7 percent), including 2-0 in the first round. The Hurricanes had a 2-0 lead against the Boston Bruins in the first round and won the series in seven games.
Here are 3 keys to Game 2:
1. Better start for Carolina
The Rangers controlled the first two periods of Game 1, and the Hurricanes were down 1-0 only because goalie Antti Raanta was solid, making 22 saves through two periods.
“‘Raants’ kept us in that game,” Hurricanes forward Vincent Trocheck said. “If it wasn’t for him it could have been 4-0 after two.”
The Hurricanes found their game in the third period, when they finally attacked the Rangers and put them on their heels. But they can’t play with fire like that again.
They have to establish a forecheck early and try to own more of the middle of the ice than they did in the first two periods of Game 1. If not, it’ll be on Raanta again, a hard task against a team as skilled as New York.
“The good news is we got the win and there are some guys that could probably play better,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I look at that as a positive.”
2. Panarin has to find his game
Artemi Panarin was not much of a factor offensively in Game 1, being held to no points and two shots on goal in 18:01 of ice time. In addition, had the Rangers forward been quicker on his backcheck he might have been able to prevent Aho from scoring the tying goal.
New York needs Panarin’s dynamic playmaking in Game 2, but he said part of the game plan for him in Game 1 was to limit the risk he usually plays with because the Rangers were clinging to a 1-0 lead and playing, as he called it, “a pretty conservative game.”
“It’s not great, but sometimes you have to do that,” Panarin said. “Depends on the situation in the game. If we’re down a few [goals] you have to start playing normally. Like, I would love to do some stupid [stuff] on the blue line, but I can’t.”
Panarin said it doesn’t bother him to play with less risk if the Rangers are playing the way they did in Game 1. But in Game 2, having the puck on his stick more will be important regardless of whether he takes risks.
“When you play with the puck more that’s a better feeling,” Panarin said. “But I’m a 30-year-old guy, so I have the patience now. I feel good.”
3. Hurricanes discipline
There were two overlapping penalties called in Game 1, and each team got 27 seconds of power-play time, each going 0-for-1.
That’s perfect for the Hurricanes, who do not want to fuel the Rangers’ potent power play, which is ranked fourth in the playoffs at 30.0 percent after finishing fourth in the regular season at 25.2 percent.
“I’d personally rather have it like that. I like our chances on the 5-on-5 game,” Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce said. “Hopefully we can continue to stay out of the box.”
Rangers projected lineup
Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Frank Vatrano
Artemi Panarin — Ryan Strome — Andrew Copp
Alexis Lafreniere — Filip Chytil — Kaapo Kakko
Tyler Motte — Kevin Rooney — Ryan Reaves
Ryan Lindgren — Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller — Jacob Trouba
Justin Braun — Braden Schneider
Scratched: Patrik Nemeth, Libor Hajek, Greg McKegg, Julien Gauthier, Jonny Brodzinski, Dryden Hunt
Injured: Barclay Goodrow (lower body), Sammy Blais (knee)
Hurricanes projected lineup
Seth Jarvis — Sebastian Aho — Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov — Vincent Trocheck — Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter — Jordan Staal — Jesper Fast
Max Domi — Jesperi Kotkaniemi — Steven Lorentz
Jaccob Slavin — Tony DeAngelo
Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce
Brendan Smith — Ian Cole
Scratched: Ethan Bear, Derek Stepan
Injured: Frederik Andersen (lower body), Jordan Martinook (lower body)
The Rangers held an optional morning skate. … The Hurricanes will play with the same lines that finished Game 1. … Martinook participated in the morning skate, but the forward will miss his sixth straight game.