Carolina Hurricanes: Qualifying Round Storylines to Follow

The Carolina Hurricanes will face off against the Rangers starting tommorow

The Qualifying Round against the New York Rangers Starts Tomorrow. The Carolina Hurricanes have a few storylines that you will want to keep track of.

Tomorrow cannot get soon enough. The fact that it will be a nice and early game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers will make this wait a bit more bearable. They will be the first two teams to break the ice on the 2020 Stanley Cup Tournament (that pun was absolutely done on purpose).

But there is more to this match-up than just being the first best-of-five series since 1985 or the fact that it will be the first playoff game played without any fans in the building. There are several interesting storylines that have developed leading up to this series.

So while we wait for the clock to run down and the puck to be dropped, lets drop in on some of these storylines.

The Record Between these Teams

It has been no secret that the Carolina Hurricanes have a hard time handling the New York Rangers. Since the turn of the last decade they have gone 10-34-0 against the Rangers. 6-16-0 at home and only 4-18-0 on the road. That has to play with the psyche of both teams, giving one much more confidence over the other.

What should give the Carolina Hurricanes confidence however is the fact that they have never been seen by the Rangers in the playoffs, not even as the Hartford Whalers. There is no history to draw upon between these two teams other than regular season games.

We know how that played against the Islanders last year, a New York Team, with a similar (however less impressive) record against the Hurricanes. The fact is, the Hurricanes should also draw confidence in the fact that they haven’t lost in the early rounds of the playoffs since 2001 when they lost to the New Jersey Devils.

The Hurricanes Goaltending

Petr Mrazek or James Reimer? Who is the starting goaltender for the Carolina Hurricanes at noon tomorrow? Rod Brind’amour knows the answer, but is keeping his cards close to his chest. That should help keep the Rangers wondering.

Mrazek didn’t have the best game on paper the other day against the Capitals but was still flashing the leather and helped keep the Hurricanes in the meaningless game. Reimer didn’t allow a single goal, but wasn’t challenged enough in his half of the game to really make things interesting.

Whomever Rod Brind’amour goes with will regardless have my trust as well. But it is good to know that the depth is there.

The Man in Goal on the Other End

The Hurricanes aren’t the only ones with depth in the net. The Rangers will feature a three headed monster. While Henrik Lundqvist does have the devastating history against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers may most likely decide to turn to rookie Igor Shesterkin who already began his winning streak against the Hurricanes earlier this year.

There really is no wrong answer for the Rangers in this situation, either experience and history, or youth and talent will give them the advantage against the Hurricanes who will have to rely on their offensive talent to try and get the first goal and the first win of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Injury Statuses

Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they will not be at 100% on either offense or defense going into this game. Martin Necas and Dougie Hamilton both missed the exhibition game against the Washington Capitals. The good news is that both are on the mend.

Dougie Hamilton, who hurt himself during training, was seen skating after practice. According to Rod Brind’amour he will not be ready for tomorrow’s game but could possibly be available later in the series.

Martin Necas on the other hand practiced earlier today and can very possibly get a roster spot tommorow. There is more than enough depth in the form of Morgan Geekie to replace Necas as needed, but the young Czech star can absolutely make a deep difference against the Rangers and help send them back to New York City early.

Hopefully both of these star players will be on the ice for the team by the end of the week as the Carolina Hurricanes make quick and easy work of the New York Rangers, and end this nonsense of them being the underdogs to a team that would have never made the playoffs under normal conditions.

The 2020 NHL playoffs will be one for the history books. If all goes well, not only will the Carolina Hurricanes win the first game of the tournament, but the last one too.

Question for CC readers: How are you going to watch the game?

Next: Looking towards Seattle's Draft
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