On Saturday, the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes kicked us off with the first game of the NHL qualifying round. Just three days later, the Hurricanes ended the series with a three-game sweep of the Rangers. Carolina scored three or more goals in every game and gave up only four total goals. They played a well-rounded game that got New York ousted. The Rangers didn’t show up and find themselves out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are many reasons why the Rangers lost the series and the Hurricanes deserve a lot of credit with their style of play.
Why The Rangers Were Swept In The NHL Qualifying Round
Reasons The Rangers Got Swept
1. No Offense
The number one reason the Rangers weren’t able to hold off the Hurricanes was because of their lack of offense. They scored only four goals in the series with two of them being in the first game. Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider only had a goal and an assist each throughout the series. That pretty much made up the whole offense as the Rangers scored two in game one and only scored a goal in games two and three. They only led for 3:06 in the series and that was after scoring the first goal in game three. The supporting cast didn’t take any steps forward either. It was a poor performance all around on offense throughout the series that was the downfall of the Rangers.
2. Power Play Woes
A big part of a team’s success is special teams. The Rangers penalty kill was good but the power-play, not so much. The Hurricanes went on the power-play 14 times and the Rangers killed 12 of them. New York wasn’t much better on the power-play as they went 1 for 14 with 15 shots on goal. After game one, Zibanejad voiced his displeasure with the power-play. He was bent on improving it for the rest of the series but they only scored one after game one. Even though the Hurricanes power-play wasn’t much better, they had the offense with five-on-five play to disguise that fact. The lack of offense at even strength and on the power play showed that the Rangers weren’t ready for the Hurricanes.
At the beginning of the season, Henrik Lundqvist was once again starting for the Rangers. As the season progressed, his play started to decline and he was benched and no longer considered the starter. Lundqvist started 30 games and had a record of 10-12-3 with a .905 save percentage and a 3.16 goals-against average. The Rangers had two young goalies waiting in the wings and one of them took over for most of the season. Alexandar Georgiev started 34 games and had a 17-14-2 record with a .910 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against average. He did a little better than Lundqvist but they had another young goalie that took the Rangers by storm. Igor Sheshterkin only started 12 games but shined in those games. He was 10-2 with a .932 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.52.
Going into this qualifying round, everyone expected Sheshterkin to start the series against the Hurricanes. As game time got closer, he was deemed unfit to play so old reliable Lundqvist drew the start. He wasn’t bad as he stopped 34 of 37 and he made some great saves but the offense didn’t do enough. Igor was deemed unfit to play yet again for game two so Lundqvist started again. Game two was a little rough but he stopped 30 of 34 shots. Many thought Georgiev would start in game three to give them a spark but Sheshterkin was cleared to play and he drew the start. He shutout the Hurricanes offense in the first period and only gave up a goal in the second. It was tied after two but it slipped away from the Rangers with a 4-1 loss.
Despite this NHL qualifying round loss, the future for the Rangers is bright for both the forward group and the goaltending. The Rangers have a big decision this offseason in regards to Lundqvist’s future. They have two young goaltenders that are better right now but Henrik has been the face of the franchise for years. If the Rangers trade or release him, it’ll be devastating but understandable. The forward group with Panarin, Zibanejad, and Kreider along with a young Kaapo Kakko has fans excited. This isn’t the end for the Rangers and other teams better know it for the future.
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