Carolina is favored in Game Two with the O/U set at 5.5
Simply put, the New York Rangers need to be much better offensively if they want to have any chance in this series. They head into tomorrow’s game down 0-1 to the sixth-seeded Carolina Hurricanes. The Blueshirts need to take today to figure out a better way to attack the Canes offensively. And with the potential return of Dougie Hamilton, I don’t see that task becoming any easier for the Rangers.
Yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes almost felt destined to happen from the beginning of the game. It only took the Hurricanes a minute and one second to score the first goal of the game and take a lead that they would never look back from. There were some moments of hope for the Blueshirts. A goal in the second period from Mika Zibanejad made it a one-score game. For a while, it looked like the Rangers were in it, but the Canes would score another goal to take a 3-1 lead about midway through the third period. Amazingly, the Rangers were able to score a shorthanded goal with 1:55 left in the game. However, it was too little too late as Carolina’s defense would close out the Blueshirts for the 3-2 victory.
This game serves as a perfect example of inadequacy on the Power Play. 18 penalties were called in the game leading to 14 power-play opportunities. These teams combined to score a total of one goal on those 14 power plays. It was the Hurricanes who scored that goal. As for the Rangers, they finished the day 0 for 7 on the power play opportunity, which is abysmal. I can say with confidence the Rangers probably would have won that game if they had been able to capitalize on just one of those power-play chances. There’s nothing they can do about it now though except look at the film and make adjustments as a team.
Another issue was that the Rangers defense was not giving Henrik Lundqvist any help. The Hurricanes were able to get off 37 shots in the game while New York was held to just 26. Furthermore, most of the shots that the Canes got off were good. Henrik did finish the game with 34 saves, and a lot of them were spectacular. The problem is that he had to make so many spectacular saves because the defense was not doing a good job of protecting the net from Carolina’s attackers.
If Dougie Hamilton makes his series debut for the Hurricanes, that could spell trouble for the Blueshirts. New York already struggled against Carolina without him in the lineup. I don’t think the Rangers will have an easier time scoring against a defense that will be getting back one of its most important players.
This game has the feeling like Carolina is going to win it. The Hurricanes looked more prepared for the spotlight than the Rangers in game one, and they certainly played that way too. I think the Blueshirts are still too inexperienced and don’t have a sense of urgency right now. I believe that will cost them this game and put them in a position to be swept on Tuesday. Hurricanes win by the same score as last game, so they do not hit the over.