Final Thoughts on Carolina Hurricanes and the Competition

Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game Five / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

After a team loses in the playoffs it is easy to reflect on what went wrong and if it can be fixed by the start of the following season. This is no different for the Carolina Hurricanes and more recently the New York Rangers and Dallas Stars. As the players clean up their lockers, they are asked questions about the prior series and the future of the team. To make it past the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs means you undoubtedly have a solid squad, but still are left with 30 other clubs that don't hoist the Stanley Cup.

The common answers are "We didn't get the bounces" or "The better team won". The most common theme in the locker room is the belief that the team can win the Stanley Cup. The Canes have to feel this way too. Sure, the off-season could reshape this team a bit, but for the most part, the core of this group will be back.

In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers style seemed to be a bad matchup with the Florida Panthers style. The Panthers continue to provide three important factors in the playoffs, being good goaltending, timely scoring, and physicality. Many teams, including the Rangers, have more scoring talent but cannot find it in the playoffs. A lot of teams sprinkle in some physicality and solid goaltending but not all together like the Panthers have the last two seasons.

I may be going out on a limb here but the Hurricanes style and skillset seem to be a better fit for beating the Panthers. Last year in the Eastern Conference Finals, the teams were more evenly matched than this year despite the Panthers sweeping the Canes. Each of those games was one goal defeat, but Carolina continued to struggle with scoring.

The Carolina team did not match up well with the Rangers' speed and scoring, but ultimately the performance of Frederik Andersen was the difference in the series. Despite the Canes' struggle to stop the Rangers-powered offense, Carolina kept with the scoring pace.

Whether many Caniacs like to admit it or not, Andersen was the difference, and the teams in the final four all had elite goaltending to back them up. Next season will need a change from Andersen if this team is going to compete with the Juggernauts.