Canes vs Rangers Game 7

The Rangers scored two power play goals Saturday night. They had three power play goals before Game 6. Five PPG in 6 games is strong for the Rangers and the power play has been a strength all season long. A few big things that have given New York the momentum is the power plays (the Blueshirts have 29.7% power play percent in the playoffs) and the youthful fourth line of the Rangers known as the “Kid Line.” Their play has really picked up in the series. Seemingly ever consistent is the absolutely outstanding goaltending of Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin. 

Working in the Carolina Hurricanes favor is that they have home ice advantage in game 7. The Canes’ biggest strength all series has been the faceoff win percentage. It’s been allowing them a lot of puck control. Combined with their aggressive forecheck they have been outshooting the Rangers heavily. But unlike NY, Carolina’s power play has been very weak at just 12% in the postseason this year. 

The Hurricanes doubled the shots of the Rangers in game 6. Carolina’s Goalie, former NYR Antti Raanta allowed three goals within the first 24 mins of play with a save percentage of just 76.9. In game 4 despite outshooting NY and winning 65% of faceoffs Carolina lost 4-1 with Raanta making just 16 saves on 19 even strength shots and allowing another during a 1st period power play. After allowing just one goal in the first two games of the series Carolina has allowed 10 goals in the last 3 games. All three of Carolina’s losses have been by multiple goals with the last two losses being by a three goal differential. The fact the Canes pulled Raanta in game 6 after a poor start isn’t abnormal. Players have bad nights, you throw the other guy in there and you move on and get a fresh start in the next game. But by comparison, New York’s Igor Shesterkin has been so consistently brilliant. He’s been the better of two without question. But he’s also had to be given how much Carolina is outshooting NY.

What are each team’s keys to victory? For the New York Rangers they can’t put all the pressure on the defense. They cannot keep losing faceoffs and hoping on quality over quantity shots. They’ve got to get more pucks to the net than they have been this series. Goals can come from anywhere but they have the momentum but still need to show some aggression. As for Carolina, if they can stay out of the penalty box they take away the Rangers’ life blood. They’ve been the more dominant team at even strength and NY has allowed them often to set up in the offensive zone. They also need decent goalie play in the crease. 

Carolina has scored 2 goals three times in the series and 1 goal twice. Only in game 5 did they manage 3 goals. They have also held the Rangers to 1 or fewer goals three times, all of them wins. But allowed 3 or more goals in each of their losses. A high scoring game won’t benefit them. They need to play clean, disciplined hockey. A big factor to note: the home team has won every single one of the 6 games so far in the series. Carolina is the home team for game 7. Do they keep that trend going and make the conference finals? Does New York carry the momentum and carve their own path a step closer to the Stanley Cup? My bet? The Rangers score 2 goals exactly for the first time in the series, the latter being the go ahead power play goal. Then the defense and Shesterkin hold on for dear life in the final 10 minutes of an exciting 2-1 finale sending New York on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Who do you think takes game 7? 

Leave a Reply