The Carolina Hurricanes sent the Rangers home early.
With the Carolina Hurricanes completing a sweep in the best-of-5 series against the New York Rangers, let’s take a look back at how the Canes overcame their first hurdle.
Game 3 was a stellar performance from the team through and through. I can watch the Carolina Hurricanes’ final goal against Igor Shesterkin on a loop until the end of time, but we’re not here to just talk about game three.
We’re here to talk about the series as a whole and why the Carolina Hurricanes are progressing and the New York Rangers are leaving the bubble to head back to New York earlier than anyone else.
Obviously, a team needs a lot to win a playoff series (or in this case, a play-in series). To start, this team needs to be together. Carolina did just that. From the immediate impact of the big Brady Skjei giving a massive hit in game one to Sebastian Aho being an absolute monster in the third period of the final game.
Carolina was just a better team. It looked almost a certainty that the Canes would progress onto the playoffs.
Let’s start with the immaculate performances of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Just wow. One of the major questions coming into this series was how would the goaltending of the Carolina Hurricanes hold up in comparison to the Rangers.
The answer? Pretty darn well. Reimer was absolutely standing on his head in game three. Before that Mrazek was shutting the door well in the first two games. It’s been a great goaltending performance.
Looking at this, you can see Reimer just stone-walling a Ranger attacker from the edge of the crease. But did you catch the save there that wasn’t from Reimer? No, not Jaccob Slavin who had basically assumed the role of a 2nd goaltender against the Rangers. I’m talking about the newest member of Carolina’s flashy Finns, Sami Vatanen.
Ignoring the outstanding goalline save the Finnish defender made, he has been a point per game throughout this series, with three assists in three games. A strong showing from the rental Carolina picked up at the deadline. On top of that, he’s been quarterbacking the powerplay and has been a great asset for the Canes to have in the absence of Dougie Hamilton.
Oh yeah. Carolina didn’t have Dougie Hamilton and still swept the Rangers. Who’s scared of who now?
Aho recording 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points, Svechnikov recording 3 goals and two assists for 5 points and Teravainen with a goal and an assist, they just dominated whoever they played against.
Andrei Svechnikov I’ve already talked about in a different article, so if you wish to read about my thoughts on the dominant Russian youngster, you can read those in the link below.
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Teravainen didn’t have a great series in terms of on-sheet production, but his ability to marshall the defensive responsibilities of his line was vital to the success of the team. He did bag himself a nice backhand goal in game three to tie the game in the second (a vital turning point in the game), but it’s not the production we have come to expect from the man dubbed “Turbo” by his teammates. But that hardly matters as his presence was still important to the wins.
Aho. Do I need to say anything else? Wow, what a player. I don’t know what else to say. Almost at the THREE POINTS PER GAME rate! Eight points in just three games.
Carolina’s playoff run will rely on their Finnish superstar. Aho’s production will be essential if the team wants to improve on their Eastern Conference Finals run from last year.
I’ve watched that goal a hundred times now and I still cannot help but wince for the Rangers defender. But you can hardly feel bad for him.
Summary for those that just want a simple explanation. Great goaltending, an elite defense, and the SAT line. If Carolina truly wants to run for the cup, they need to find more 5v5 threats from someone that isn’t on the SAT line. Martin Necas had two points and has been a serious threat analytically, but they need someone else to step up to aid the kid.
Regardless, Carolina looks like a team poised for a run this year.
Question for Cardiac Cane readers: What impressed you most about the Series win over the Rangers?