With hockey approaching on August 1st, we have another Eastern Conference showdown, this time featuring the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers. I will be looking forward to watching this one. Now, let’s dive into this matchup.
The Rangers are happy to have Artemi Panarin that’s for sure. With 95 points he has never had more points in a season and that’s with not even having a full season. Mika Zibanejad had quite a season himself ending with 75 points. He scored 5 goals vs the Capitals during a single game. Furthermore, the Rangers have a total of 7 players with 40 points or above. They rank 5th in goals per game average.
As for the Canes, they aren’t in bad shape either, although they sit below New York at 11th in goals per game average. Their offense has been good. Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov lead the way, each having more than 60 points.
The Canes have a great defense. Unfortunately, Dougie Hamilton might not be returning for them. The Canes might need some great defensive performances to counter that fantastic NYR offense.
As for the Rangers, it’s…interesting. They have 3 goalies to pick from. New York may end up picking Igor Shesterkin out of the bunch though. From a pure GAA standpoint the Canes did better than the Rangers this year, however when Igor started playing the backend from a pure GAA was improved, when he started in games that is. Remember stats can be flawed though.
Looking at it from the PP and PK percentages NYR and CAR were much closer in power-play than in penalty kill and overall CAR was 4th in percentage on the PK where the Rangers were 23rd.
One of these two teams lost the season series 0-4, they were winless. Can you guess who? It was the Canes. Although the Rangers ended the year 3 places back from Carolina in their divisional standings, they only had 1 less win than Carolina. New York had 37 and the Canes 38.
When it comes down to it I am picking the Rangers in 4-5 games.