The New York Rangers need more shots to have a shot in this series against the Carolina Hurricanes.
That’s how the Rangers view their situation going into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference qualifying series Monday afternoon at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
“We’ve got to get on the inside and get more shots,” Rangers center Mika Zibanejad said.
The Hurricanes aren’t looking for many changes, liking the way most aspects of their 3-2 victory in Game 1 unfolded Saturday. But there are bound to be changes as the series develops, not to mention that the teams will have a quick turnaround with Game 3 set for Tuesday afternoon.
“We won the first game, that only means we’re up one,” Hurricanes right winger Justin Williams said.
“We’d rather have one in the bank than not,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said of taking the series lead after the first NHL game that counted in more than four months.
The adjustments could include the goalie position for the Rangers after Henrik Lundqvist, who has enjoyed plenty of success against the Hurricanes during his career, was in net for the series opener. Rookie Igor Shesterkin, who was stellar this winter before the season was suspended, was held out with an ailment in Game 1.
Lundqvist was solid while making 34 saves. The area of greatest concern for the Rangers came on special teams.
“Our power play has to be quicker,” coach David Quinn said. “Too often we were on the perimeter.”
New York went 0-for-7 on power plays.
“I feel like they outcompeted us,” Zibanejad said. “I don’t think we were able to get on the same page. We weren’t able to get a good power play and get some momentum from it.”
For the Hurricanes, there will be discussions about better discipline.
“I don’t think we can take that many penalties,” defenseman Jaccob Slavin said.
The Rangers swept the four regular-season meetings this season, so they expected the Hurricanes “to come out with more hunger and they certainly did,” Quinn said. “I thought as the game went on, we got better with our mentality.”
The status of Rangers right winger Jesper Fast, who absorbed a hit from former teammate Brady Skjei and was lost in the opening shift, will impact the team’s lineup.
Lundqvist said he’ll be ready if he’s called upon again.
“I’m happy I got an opportunity to play,” Lundqvist said. “I enjoyed it. I approached this to be open-minded. Take every start as an opportunity.”
At least the Hurricanes found a way to break through against Lundqvist, so that’s no longer hanging over them.
“Previous seasons against Henrik we haven’t had much success,” Slavin said.
Carolina’s Martin Necas scored in his first postseason game. He was the ninth player in franchise history to score in his playoff debut.
Players from both teams said they adjusted to the unprecedented playoff environment, playing on neutral ice and without spectators in the stands.
“There was a lot of emotion,” Williams said. “I think there was a lot of pent-up energy for a lot of players.”
–Field Level Media