Blueshirts Fail In First GameThe New York Rangers (0-1-0) lost what ultimately was the first NHL game in 143 days after dropping Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Carolina Hurricanes with a score of 3-2 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday. After the Canes scored a goal at the start of each of the first two periods, Mika Zibanejad (41 markers, 75 points during the regular season) cut Carolina’s lead in half with just over five minutes remaining until the second intermission, only for the Hurricanes to make it 3-1 midway through the final third before Marc Staal (2 goals, 11 points) converted a shorty with less than two minutes left in the game.
With expected starting goalie Igor Shesterkin dropped before the contest for alleged fitness reasons, veteran Henrik Lundqvist made his 128th consecutive postseason start, stopping 34 shots in the process. He finished the regular campaign with a 10-12-3 record on top of a 3.16 GAA and a .905 save percentage, and has gone 61-66 in his postseason career with a 2.29 GAA and a .922 save percentage. Lundqvist has registered a 33-12-1 previous total against Carolina with a 2.00 GAA and a .934 save percentage. The Rangers, meanwhile, were 5th in most goals scored per game prior to the lockdown (3.33), 8th in most snipes allowed on average (3.14), 7th in power play (22.9%) and 23rd in penalty kill (77.4%).
Canes Bank Opening WinThe Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-0) won the first NHL game played in August after earning a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday. Jaccob Slavin (6 goals, 36 points during the regular season) opened the scoring just 61 seconds into the contest, Sebastian Aho (38 goals, 66 points) banked a power-play snipe in the second period, while Martin Necas (16 goals, 36 points) buried a one-timer in the final third for the Canes, who outshot the Blueshirts 37-26, won 54% of all the face-offs, killed all seven penalties and went 1-for-7 on power play.
Goalie Petr Mrazek, who ended the regular campaign with a 21-16-2 tally on top of a 2.69 GAA and a .905 save percentage, turned away 24 shots. He has posted a 10-11 previous total with a 2.35 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 23 past postseason appearances and is 3-4-0 against the Rangers historically with a 3.03 GAA and a .886 save percentage. Just before the lockdown, the Hurricanes were scoring the 11th highest amount of goals per game (3.19), while giving up the 11th lowest quantity in their defensive zone (2.84). The team was 8th in power play (22.3%) and 4th most efficient in penalty kill (84.0%).
- Hurricanes are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference.
- Rangers are 2-9 in their last 11 Monday games.