The Hurricanes take on the Rangers tonight on the second leg of a back-to-back as they look to become the first qualifying round team to clinch their playoff position. The Canes have outgunned the Rangers up to this point, holding New York to just three goals in two games. A win for the Hurricanes tonight would send them through to face the third or fourth seed in the Eastern Conference at the conclusion of the round robin series.
- The Canes have largely neutralized the Rangers power play through the first two games, allowing only one goal on 11 opportunities. The lone Rangers goal came on a 5-on-3 chance.
- Only one team in the history of the NHL has lost a best-of-five series after going up by a game score of 2-0. (Take that with a grain of salt — the NHL hasn’t had a best-of-five playoff series since Ronald Reagan was in office).
- The Canes own a 3-3 franchise record in Game 3 when holding a 2-0 series lead. They’ve won five out of the six past playoff series in which they went up 2-0 (their lone loss came in a best-of-seven series).
- Andrei Svechnikov scored the first hat trick in franchise history in Game 2. He is just the eighth player at age 20 or younger to score a postseason hat trick, and the first since Filip Forsberg did it in April of 2015. It was Svechnikov’s first NHL hat trick.
- Svechnikov is the 10th player in NHL history to record two or more multi-goal postseason games before the age of 21 — Rod Brind’Amour is also a member of that elite club.
- Petr Mrazek picked up 23 saves in his 11th career NHL postseason win yesterday. He has earned seven of those with the Canes.
Lines and Rosters
The theme in this series for Carolina has been overwhelming the Rangers with their depth and playoff experience (that still feels weird to write), and shutting down the Rangers’ high impact players. They know that offense flows through the Rangers top six, and they’ve mostly done a good job neutralizing that threat. Don’t expect for Brind’Amour to make many, if any, changes to the lineup today. The exception may be in net coming off of a game yesterday, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he stuck with Mrazek.
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Nino Niederreiter - Vincent Trochek - Martin Necas
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Brock McGinn - Morgan Geekie - Jordan Martinook
Jaccob Slavin - Sami Vatanen
Brady Skjei - Joel Edmundson
Jake Gardiner - Haydn Fleury
New York Rangers
The Rangers have had a lot of trouble matching up with Carolina’s depth in this series, and Jesper Fast going down in Game 1 was a huge blow to their already shoddy depth. They’ve traditionally killed the Hurricanes with hot goaltending and top-line scoring talent. Henrik Lundqvist has been serviceable in this series, but the New York top six has really struggled to score. In order to get back into this series, the Rangers will need to jump start their special teams and get more pucks past Mrazek. Both of those tasks flow through their impact forwards. Here’s how we can expect the Rangers to look tonight:
UPDATE: After being unfit to play in the first two games, Rangers rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin will start for the Blueshirts tonight.
In addition, forward Brendan Lemieux, suspended for the first two games of the series, will drawn in for Steven Fogarty, according to Dan Rosen of NHL.com.
Lemieux scored six goals and 18 points in the regular season, including one goal against the Hurricanes. Shesterkin was stellar in 12 starts in the regular season, going 10-2-0 with a .932 saver percentage and 2.52 goals-against average, including 27 saves in a 5-2 win over the Hurricanes on Feb. 21.
Chris Kreider - Mika Zibanejad - Pavel Buchnevich
Artemi Panarin - Ryan Strome - Kaapo Kakko
Phil Di Guiseppe - Filip Chytil - Julien Gauthier
Brett Howden - Greg McKegg - Brendan Lemieux
Brendan Smith - Jacob Trouba
Ryan Lindgren - Adam Fox
Marc Staal - Anthony DeAngelo