RALEIGH, NC — The Rangers are returning to New York having lost two games to none in their second-round series against the Hurricanes.
Between their stagnant offense, powerplay struggles, and meager contributions from their top guns, the Rangers didn’t do much to counter the Hurricanes’ limited offense and lost 2-0 in Game 2 at the PNC Arena on Friday night to a much more scrappy crowd than they did at the PNC Arena Series start.
The Hurricanes haven’t come anywhere near their best form in those two games, in part because of Rangers. But Rangers have to be at their best to beat Carolina, and that series hasn’t delivered either.
Even when the Hurricanes aren’t able to play their usual relentless forecheck or hit high shot counts, what they’ve put on the ice has proven enough to defeat a Rangers team that isn’t on the offensive clicks. Rangers’ last goal of the series came at 7:07 in the first period of Game 1.
While the kid line of Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko was playoff history for Rangers, the lack of input from their top six was detrimental.
The Rangers’ notable stats that night were as follows:
Chris Kreider: Four minutes in the penalty area, one giveaway and zero shots on goal. Artemi Panarin: three giveaways and zero shots on goal. Mika Zibanejad: two shots on goal and a giveaway. Ryan Strome: A shot on goal. Frank Vatrano: two shots on goal and a giveaway. Andrew Copp: Zero shots on goal.
It was impossible for Rangers to get anything going offensively while they were in the penalty area all night. The Hurricanes conceded the same number of penalties as the Rangers but were far more productive on their tight time and power play.
Carolina finished the regular season with 88 percent, the highest penalty kill percentage in the NHL, and that ability was on full display in her win.
After former blueshirt Brady Skjei was called to a four-minute high-stick penalty that drew blood from Lafreniere, the Hurricanes capitalized on an unbalanced Rangers power play. Sebastian Aho fed another ex-Ranger, Brendan Smith, in a shorthanded rush for a one-timer that put the Hurricanes on the board at 15:54 of the second period.
Aho added an empty net in the final seconds of the third section.
Carolina had changed their lines in the third half of Game 1’s overtime win, so Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour went into Game 2 with the same configuration. Rangers started the same as they had in their last four games this postseason. but head coach Gerard Gallant changed things at the end of the second period on Friday night to try and spark something in his team.
Gallant rotated Lafreniere to the second line and pushed Copp to the third unit. He also brought Kakko to the top once with Zibanejad and Kreider and also used a makeshift unit with Kevin Rooney, Copp and Vatrano. But none of this had the effect Gallant presumably wanted.
After only two penalties were awarded in the opening game of the series, Game 2 was significantly meaner, with six offenses in the first period alone en route to a total of 10.
In addition to three four-for-four stretches, the Rangers also had a four-for-three advantage for 49 seconds and 6:49 in five-for-fours to post a 7:38 power play time, which they could not achieve capitalize.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/20/rangers-blanked-by-hurricanes-in-game-2-loss/ Rangers were knocked out by Hurricanes in Game 2