Carolina Hurricanes: Top takeaways from Game 1 win over New York Rangers

Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes came out of Game 1 with a huge win. Here’s what fans should take away from it.

Carolina Hurricanes rookie forward Martin Necas’ shot attempt that deflected off of New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal in front of Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist proved to be the game-winner in Game 1. The Hurricanes took the first game of the Qualifying Round best-of-five series in Toronto over the Rangers 3-2.

Henrik Lundqvist and Petr Mrazek were the starting goaltenders in the first match-up to kick off the qualifying round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Scotiabank Arena, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In a match-up of two different playing styles, Carolina imposed their heavy puck control, stifling defense, and slower-paced style throughout the afternoon’s matchup. The Rangers speed game and crisp, quick-strike passing, and their shooting attack were all neutralized, especially for the first 35 minutes of the contest. This was Carolina’s game to win right from the start.


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The first period saw a big open-ice hit from former Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei delivered to his former teammate Jesper Fast. A few seconds later, a goal scored by Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin to give Carolina the lead all within the first 61 seconds of the game.

The hit knocked Fast out for the remainder of the game. Slavin’s goal, Carolina’s first shot on goal of the game, was a high shot from in tight over the right shoulder of Lundqvist, assisted by Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Carolina was seventh in the entire league during the regular season in wins when scoring the first goal.

In the first period, the Hurricanes outshot the Rangers 12-4 and completely controlled the game. The Hurricanes looking like the more prepared team after nearly five months since both teams last played a real game.


The first period featured three minor penalties for the Rangers and four minor for Carolina. Hurricanes forward Justin Williams and Rangers forward Ryan Strome engaged in a fight within the first three minutes of the period.

The second period was a see-saw battle of both teams exchanging power play opportunities. Carolina took four minor penalties while New York took three penalties. After killing a late first-period penalty that carried over to start the second and killing a second penalty shortly after that one ended, Carolina converted one of the power play opportunities of their own.

Sebastian Aho scored off a tip-in from an Andrei Svechnikov shot to give Carolina the 2-0 lead 6:29 into the second. Rangers leading goal scorer for the 2019-20 season Forward Mika Zibanejad made it a one-goal deficit with 5:34 remaining in the period tipping a shot from the top of the circle by Rangers Defenseman Ryan Lindgren.

The game saw a total of 16 minor penalties for both teams and a fighting major a piece. Carolina was 1-7 on the power play while the Rangers were 0-7 on the power play. Hurricanes were second in the entire NHL during the regular season taking 258 minor penalties. The Rangers, who lead the entire league in total penalty minutes overall, finished 4th overall in the league taking 253 minor penalties during the regular season.

Third Period Wakeup Call

In the third period, both teams played more disciplined as two minor penalties from the Rangers were the only ones called in the period. It was a balanced period on both sides. Almost nine minutes passed without a penalty before the first Rangers penalty of the period.

Shortly after that one ended, Necas’s goal at 10:51 of the third to give the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead. The Rangers had some last pushes in the last half of the third, scoring on a Marc Staal short-handed goal from the point on a tick tack toe passing play from Panarin to Zibanejad back to Staal with 1:55 left to go in the game to cut the deficit back to one.

That would be as close as they got as Carolina secured the victory with aggressive puck possession and did not allow another heavy push from the late tally on.  Both goaltenders played a great game, stopping many prime scoring chances and screens, tip-ins, and deflections were the only goals getting by them aside from Slavin’s tally in the first.

Lundqvist, who is the all-time franchise leader in playoff games played with the Rangers with 129, got the start over incumbent starting goaltender Igor Shesterkin because Shesterkin was “unfit to play.” The NHL is not disclosing any detailed injury information throughout this playoff season.

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Although Shesterkin’s injury is believed to be day to day, there is no way of knowing who will start in goal for the Rangers for Game 2 of this series on Monday afternoon at noon EST. Carolina won their first game of the season against the Rangers, losing all four matchups of their previous matchups during the regular season.