Holy cow, this was a game straight out of the late ’90s. The offense came at a premium and we didn’t see a single five-on-five goal. However, Carolina managed to grab a lead in the second period off of a short-handed goal, and the team never really looked like they were going to lose it as they win game two 2-0 and take a 2-0 series lead to suit before the series shifts to New York.
Antti Raanta got his first career postseason shutout and he thoroughly deserved it. This wasn’t a game where the Rangers worked him a lot. Carolina did a great job of taking away the Rangers’ best weapons and forcing this into a depth match that heavily favors the Hurricanes. Raanta did what he had to when he was called upon and the Canes did a great job of trying to shelter their netminder.
It’s become clear that the Rangers are going to try and take away the middle of the ice come hell or high water. As the Canes have proved, they can still win games if the Rangers commit to it. This became a very interesting matchup between the strong defensive system of the Rangers and the strong Canes forward pressure. It felt like water pressing against a dam. Eventually, it won’t be able to hold it anymore.
As for the rest of this game, I think we obviously have to talk about the man of the hour that was Brendan Smith. More than just his goal, Smith had an eventful game. Taking two penalties in the first six minutes that both took a Ranger off with him was an interesting start to the game. Then he decided to jump up on a rush in the second short-handed because of course he did and he got a goal. It was a good game from the veteran.