A Rocky Start
From the drop of the puck in the first period the Rangers out worked, chanced, and quite frankly were all around better than the Hurricanes. In a period where the ice was titled heavily in New York’s favor, the Hurricanes struggled with turnovers, defensive zone gaps, and generating any glimpse of offensive zone time, minus a single shift about midway through the period.
Just 48 seconds into the game Joel Edmundson got entangled with Pavel Buchnevich, getting then gate for a holding. A minute and a half later, Buchnevich would draw another penalty, this time from Jordan Martinook. While the 5 on 3 was brief, the Rangers would end up converting on the man advantage on a play where Adam Fox found Mika Zibanejad wide open for an easy one timer goal.
Just 1:18 later Brendan Smith would make it 2-0 with a one timer from the point. The play all started when Petr Mrazek turned the puck over after he attempted to make a play from behind the net. With two goals on three shots, less than five minutes into the game, it was clear the Canes were going to face an up hill battle against another Metropolitan Division team once again.
Fox would get his second point of the period when he tipped a Panarin shot with 1:40 to go in the period, making it 3-0 in favor of the Blue Shirts. An area cited in the Three Keys article was the Canes need to shut down Panarin. With two assists in the first period they failed to do so resulting in “Bread Man” staying hot.
In addition to the goals against, almost every player on the Canes struggle with taking away the time and space away from the Rangers forwards and defenseman. It seemed as if New York as first to every loose puck. Both out shooting, 11 to 10, and out chancing the Canes, 2 to 1, the entire period was a dud.
Summed up perfectly by Brett Pesce in the first period interview, the Canes needed to get back to their game if they wanted to attempt a comeback. Also mentioned in the Three Keys article, for whatever reason they’re continuing to allow other Metro teams to play “Hurricanes Hockey” against them. In the first the Rangers’ defense was engaged, jumped into plays in the offensive zone, and generated a ton of chances.