Carolina Hurricanes: New York Rangers in for a Rude Awakening

Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes will face the New York Rangers in the play-in round

The Carolina Hurricanes proved a force to be reckoned with in their 2019 playoff run. They were a force to be reckoned with in 2009 and before that in 2006. The Playoff Canes are a different beast, one that the Rangers have never seen before.

The New York Rangers have never met the Carolina Hurricanes in the postseason.  While this is difficult for fans like me who love statistics and can’t pull from a past series to analyze the upcoming matchup, Canes fans should look to the 2019 playoff run as a spoiler for the upcoming contest against the Rangers.

The 2019 playoff Canes were the underdogs that surged past league expectations. Especially when you consider the fact that they were going up against the then-current Stanley Cup Champions and a team that swept them handily in the regular season.

It was the first year I followed the Canes closely, and this playoff run showcased a team that had heart and skill when they dismantled the Washington Capitals.

While the Canes fell to the Boston Bruins in the semi-finals, the Canes have secured a spot in the playoffs for the second year in a row for the first back to back appearance since 2002, a trip that ended in a heartbreaking Stanley Cup Finals.

Canes playoff hockey is truly something special, and it brings out the best of the best within the Hurricanes organization.  This year will be no different, and the difference-makers that will shock the Rangers start in the net.

Petr Mrazek has had quite a run with the Carolina Hurricanes so far, with numerous highlights including a clinic in the 2019 playoffs. The low point of this season was a concussion suffered during the Toronto Maple Leaf’s contest that created the legend of David Ayres.

The play that took Mrazek out of the net for the Hurricanes against the Maple Leafs is a moment that captures my appreciation for Mrazek. He just doesn’t give up on a puck.

Mrazek’s performance in the 2019 playoff series against the Capitals and the Islanders is one of the highlights of his career. He recorded two shutouts, and the second shutout was the April 26 contest where he saved 31 shots. He did not drop below a .919 save percentage in the 5 wins he recorded during the playoffs.

Defensive struggles, including the absence of Dougie Hamilton, have also been felt by Petr Mrazek. However, his last five games of the abbreviated regular season are an idea of what postseason Mrazek brings to the table.

Mrazek recorded four wins and one loss in the last five games of the season, with the highlight being a .966 save percentage against the Nashville Predators where he saved 28 of 29 shots.

I have also written about Reimer previously and why he will be the Cane’s secret weapon in the playoffs. We can be sure that Reimer will also be effective in the postseason based on his success during the regular season.

Scoring trends for the Canes during the 2020 season have their beginnings in the 2019 playoffs. Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Jaccob Slavin were the top scorers in the playoffs. Among the difference-makers this year will be young favorite Andrei Svechnikov.

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Svechnikov has almost doubled his stats from last season already, and I expect a strong showing from Svech in the series against the Rangers. Justin Williams made quite an impression as Captain on last year’s series, and his return this year suggests that the playoffs will be just as exciting for the veteran.

The playoffs are almost here folks, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a Hurricanes fan. When the Canes come to play in the playoffs, their opponents will need to take warning.

Question for CC Readers: What aspect of the Carolina Hurricanes do you think the Rangers are unprepared for?

Next. Here's What a 28 Man Hurricanes Roster Looks Like. dark