The rangers have adapted to the style change of the hurricanes from the penguins

Rangers have endured two completely different series this postseason.

From overcoming the explosive offense of a speedy Penguins team in a high-scoring first-round matchup to the defense-focused and point-poor checking competition they now face with the Hurricanes in this second-round series, the Rangers have managed to adapt to their opponents for the most part.

However, one of the greatest similarities between the Penguins and the Hurricanes is that they are both high-volume shooting clubs. The two teams finished in the NHL top 10 in the regular season, with the Penguins finishing sixth (34.7) and the Hurricanes ninth (34.1).

Rangers have had to play each team differently to fight their strengths and they’ve managed to do that pretty well so far.

“Every series is different,” defenseman Justin Braun said after Rangers’ optional Monday practice session ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 4 at the Garden. “You kind of got into this one and you knew it was going to be tight. They’re playing a very north-south game where we have to put pucks in play and it’s not as free running as it is in that Pittsburgh series. So you kind of have to adapt to every game, every series.

The Rangers and Hurricanes fight for the puck.
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“But I think for the most part we did a good job and played a good defence.”

There wasn’t much open ice in the first three games for either the Rangers or the Hurricanes. Rangers were able to limit Carolina to just a single rule goal in each competition, not counting Sebastian Aho’s empty net in Game 2. By comparison, the Hurricanes have conceded 14 goals to the Rangers in four regular-season games, including the Blueshirts’ only win after backup goaltender Alexandar Georgiev’s outstanding shutout in late March.

Carolina stole one in Game 1 in overtime after overplaying most of the game and then outplayed Rangers in Game 2, but Rangers broke through on the power play and got an insurance record from Chris Kreider to win Game 3 .

So have the Rangers found a balance between solid defensive hockey and offensive offense?

“I wish I could say that,” said Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant. “I just can’t turn on the offense when I want to. I never say to guys, ‘Let’s not attack tonight, let’s just get the puck out of our zone.’ That’s never part of our team [is told] do. Well, the Carolina games were very similar to us. There weren’t many chances to score and I mentioned that after the games. They are the second-best and second-best teams in the league in goals-against average. It was close hockey, you grope each other. And there wasn’t much anyway.

“So it wasn’t like we were playing defensive hockey. They did the same. There wasn’t a big difference in scoring chances in those two games.”

If the Rangers can continue to stifle the Hurricanes’ team play and get their power play going, it could prove to be the difference in this series. But if the top 6 and the rest of their offense go cold like in Game 2, or their defensive structure falls apart like at the end of Game 1, Rangers won’t be able to contain Carolina.

“I don’t think we gave up much as defenders in Games 1 and 2,” said Justin Braun. “Creating things is not really my forte. But if you go out there and just hold her for a few shots when you’re out there, hold her on the border, that’s what I want to do night after night.” The rangers have adapted to the style change of the hurricanes from the penguins


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