Rangers defense stifles Hurricanes after injury concerns

NHL

Everyone knows what Carolina does and how it does it, and it’s generally taken for granted that you can’t completely stop the Hurricanes from increasing their shots.

And there were the Rangers after Game 1 of the second round, having dealt with the inevitable barrage of… 25 shots on goal.

So maybe barrage is the wrong word, especially when some of those looks came with the Hurricanes skating to an empty net in the final minutes of the Rangers’ 4-3 win.

Adam Fox (R) fights for the puck during the Rangers’ Game 1 win over the Hurricanes on May 5, 2024. NHLI via Getty Images

With Adam Fox finally playing after a week-long scare and K’Andre Miller showing no sign of trouble after taking a ball in the mouth in practice on Saturday, the Rangers came out and produced an exceptionally tight defensive effort against a team whose calling card is the Fire Generation.

“It seemed like we did a pretty good job,” Ryan Lindgren said. “I thought the Wings did a great job of getting into lanes in front of their defenders. Obviously they like to shoot a lot of pucks. The Wings got out of there and got into lanes. That’s always huge. Just the D-zone overall looked like we were playing hard and we made it difficult for them.”

This wasn’t just a win in keeping the Hurricanes out of danger zones and winning battles around the net, although the Rangers did just that in a Game 1 victory to open the second round.

This was a victory in blocking shots from everywhere on the ice and made the afternoon simple for Igor Shesterkin.

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Expected goals, meeting the defensive structure.

“I don’t know how many shot attempts, how many blocks they made. Sometimes you have to look at that more than your shots on net,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We put a lot of pucks in there, they did a good job.” “They got in front of them and they missed the net sometimes, but yeah, you want more good chances.”

It wasn’t just five-on-five either.

The Rangers gave up four power plays to Carolina, taking nearly as many shots as the Canes.

Then they gave up the fifth, defending a one-goal lead with 40 seconds left, and Carolina immediately nullified it with Andrei Svechnikov fouling Lindgren.

K'Andre Miller (left) looks on during the Rangers' Game 1 win over the Hurricanes on May 5, 2024.
K’Andre Miller (left) looks on during the Rangers’ Game 1 win over the Hurricanes on May 5, 2024. NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers’ penalty kill didn’t allow the Hurricanes to stay inside, tripping them up the walls and getting up the ice at every opportunity.

The two goals the Rangers scored on the power play were important. This was too big.

“Huge shots were blocked in front of me,” Shesterkin said after making 22 saves. “The guys are playing great. They did everything for me. Box out, shots, huge work.”




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