3 Keys: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, Game 2 of Cup Qualifiers


No. 11 Rangers vs. No. 6 Hurricanes


Carolina leads best-of-5 series, 1-0

It’s not clear if Henrik Lundqvist or Igor Shesterkin will be the New York Rangers’ starting goalie against the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Monday.

Lundqvist started Game 1 on Saturday and made 34 saves in a 3-2 loss because Shesterkin was ruled unfit to play. Alexandar Georgiev was the backup.

Shesterkin, who watched Game 1 from the stands in Toronto, the Eastern Conference hub city, practiced with the Rangers on Sunday.

“Haven’t really decided, not sure yet whether Igor will be [available for Game 2],” New York coach David Quinn said.

The Hurricanes will try to build on their performance in Game 1, when they outshot the Rangers 37-26 and went 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.

There hasn’t been a best-of-5 series in the NHL since 1986. The League used them for the preliminary round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs from 1980-86, and the team that won Game 1 went on to win the series 87.5 percent of the time (49 of 56).

Here are 3 keys to Game 2:


1. Hurricanes’ stick discipline

It was a game-changing performance by Carolina’s penalty killers in Game 1, but it was also too much time on the PK, especially because most of the penalties were stick infractions, such as slashing, hooking, holding and high sticking.

It’s a point of emphasis to limit those in Game 2.

“We can understand if you’re being physical and making plays and playing hard and you get a penalty, those are penalties that we’re willing to kill,” center Vincent Trocheck said. “The stick penalties are the ones we really need to stay away from.”


2. Taking advantage 

Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said he felt the Hurricanes penalty killers outcompeted them on the power play, part of the reason why they were 0-for-7 with eight shots on goal in 12:08 of power-play time.

The Rangers didn’t practice the power play Sunday, but that was by design.

“We didn’t need to work on our power play; our power play [in Game 1] was about one thing and one thing only: how slow it was,” Quinn said. “Give Carolina credit, they kill with an aggressiveness and a pace, but I thought our power play was a microcosm of what was going on all over the rink from our end of it. We just didn’t skate.”


3. Panarin’s time

Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin didn’t deliver in Game 1 the way he did in the regular season, when he tied for third in the NHL with 95 points (32 goals, 63 assists) and was voted a finalist for the Hart Trophy as MVP and Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player.

Panarin instead had a quiet four shots on goal and a secondary assist on defenseman Marc Staal‘s shorthanded goal that made it 3-2 at 18:05 of the third period. He had one shot in 7:40 of power play ice time.

“I don’t want to jump to conclusions or overreact, but it is a short series, we do not have time, as we’ve all talked about,” Quinn said. “But we need more out of everybody.”


Rangers projected lineup

Chris Kreider — Mika Zibanejad — Pavel Buchnevich

Artemi Panarin — Ryan StromeKaapo Kakko

Phillip Di GiuseppeFilip ChytilJulien Gauthier

Brett HowdenGreg McKeggSteven Fogarty

Brendan SmithJacob Trouba

Ryan LindgrenAdam Fox

Marc Staal — Tony DeAngelo

Henrik Lundqvist

Alexandar Georgiev

Scratched: Tim Gettinger, Vitali Kravtsov, Vinni Lettieri, Danny O’Regan, Brandon Crawley, Libor Hajek, Darren Raddysh

Unfit to play: Jesper Fast, Igor Shesterkin

Suspended: Brendan Lemieux


Hurricanes projected lineup

Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen

Nino Niederreiter — Vincent Trocheck — Martin Necas

Warren FoegeleJordan StaalJustin Williams

Brock McGinnMorgan GeekieJordan Martinook

Jaccob SlavinSami Vatanen

Brady SkjeiJoel Edmundson

Jake GardinerHaydn Fleury

Petr Mrazek

James Reimer

Scratched: Ryan Dzingel, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Clark Bishop, Steven Lorentz, Max McCormick, Jake Bean, Roland McKeown, Anton Forsberg, Alex Nedeljkovic

Unfit to play: Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce


Status report

Either Fogarty or Kravtsov will replace Fast, who left Game 1 61 seconds into the first period after taking a hard hit from Skjei. He didn’t practice Sunday. Fogarty and Kravtsov joined the main group practice. … Zibanejad and DeAngelo didn’t practice Sunday but are expected to play. … Lemieux will serve the second of a two-game suspension for interference against Colorado Avalanche forward Joonas Donskoi on March 11. … Hamilton skated Sunday, but Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said he’s not ready to play. 

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