Welp... it was the same story, just a different day for the Carolina Hurricanes as they outshot the New York Rangers by a solid margin, yet they couldn’t find the offense they needed, falling 2-1 Thursday night at PNC Arena.
The Hurricanes struck first but then went dry through the remainder of the game and while Igor Shesterkin made same great saves, especially robbing Jesse Puljujarvi off a 2-on-1 feed, those were far and few between compared to the amount of low danger shots he faced.
According to MoneyPuck.com, the Hurricanes only generated 0.76 more expected goals than the Rangers did despite nearly doubling them in shots.
It’s been a consistent issue for the Canes, where the offense seemingly puts up a ton of chances, they’re just not very dangerous ones.
In turn, the Rangers didn’t get much, but half of what they did produce was odd-man breaks or dangerous looks.
Frederik Andesen had a strong game despite the 0.875 save percentage, as he ended up having to stop most of those dangerous looks.
And while both teams got special teams opportunities — each team had three power play chances — the Hurricanes’ power play was much worse.
The Hurricanes could have benefitted from a tally off of the man advantage, but when you go even with your opponent, it’s a wash overall. Especially when your penalty kill thwarts a long 5-on-3 opportunity.
In terms of scoring, for the second time in their four meetings this season, the Hurricanes opened up the scoring as Sebastian Aho drove through the middle of the ice and rifled a shot past Igor Shesterkin from the top of the slot.
However, midway through the second, the Rangers would find an equalizer as New York was given too much space in the offensive zone and Mika Zibanejad found Artemi Panarin wide open for an easy goal.
And then for the third time this season, the Hurricanes blew the game in the third period.
The Rangers came into the zone with speed but nobody picked up Adam Fox activating deeper into the zone with them and sniped it past Andersen.
And after that, the Hurricanes just couldn’t generate enough to beat Shesterkin and so that would be the end of it, as the team lost 2-1 in their final regular season meeting with the Rangers.
Despite the loss, the Carolina Hurricanes became the second team to qualify for the playoffs this season after the Florida Panthers lost 6-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It will be the fifth consecutive postseason for the Hurricanes, all coming under head coach Rod Brind’Amour.
For reference, the Canes had only made consecutive postseason appearances one time in team history from 2001-2002.
So now that the main regular season goal is complete, the attention turns to posturing for positioning as the Hurricanes try to fend off the surging New Jersey Devils.
The Canes will try to keep putting up those points as they host the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at PNC Arena.