In the first of a possible five-game series, there was a matchup on Saturday at noon between the New York Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes. This took place at 12:00pmET in Toronto’s NHL bubble at Scotiabank Arena.
Right away from the first time the puck hit dropped, the Hurricanes were on the oppressive, leading to them scoring the game’s first goal. The goal was scored in just 61 seconds, scored by Jacob Slavin with assists going to Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. Slavin adds to his tally with this goal, continuing to show why he had the highest +/- of the team before the break in play occurred.
Not long after the ‘Canes got things going, Jesper Fast was later injured and seen exiting the game, heading down to the dressing room. Fast had suffered from a booming hit that saw him go hard down as aggression picked up. He was not seen for the rest of the game with a further update on his health status pending. It is possible that the New York Rangers will be without Fast for the remainder of the series.
In a sign of perhaps what was to come, the Rangers would begin the penalty list with Brett Howden going to the box for holding. Very shortly after this, a fight broke out between Strome and Williams in which Strome then left for the locker room with obvious injuries to his face and nose. Strome would return to the game with what appeared to be a broken nose, suffering bruising around from the fight near the bridge of it.
After this event, even more penalties were called as Rangers player Pavel Buchnevich was sent to the box with a retaliation penalty. Not only that, but the ‘Canes Joel Edmundson was sent off for slashing. The same offence was then called on Brock McGinn after as the penalty cleared and both players returned.
The Rangers power play unit, while having many opportunities to take the ice, had no results in the game, not making an impact on the majority of their ice time and only really being able to shake the goalie on a few occasions with Mrazek often making saves, but leaving the possibility of a rebound shot as he did not glove the puck very often.
Shortly after McGinn return from the box, Rangers’ player Chris Krieder was sent off, being called for high sticking. The ‘Canes power play unit then set things up and had no shots go through Lundqvist, the veteran goalie who had a below average showing the in game one on Saturday. The Rangers got another chance on the power play soon after with Andrei Svechnikov going to the box, being called for hooking to conclude the first period.
Going in to the game’s second frame, the Rangers had a lack lustre power play, in which Jacob Trouba ended up getting aggressive with Fleury which was broken up by the refs with no penalties called. Shortly after, however, Vincent Trocheck was called for a tripping penalty while trying to stop an offensive play from the Rangers, having his stick in the wrong place at the wrong time. This would see yet another Ranger fall to the ice.
Now back on the power play again, the Rangers almost gave up a goal to Warren Fogle who skated away from the defensemen and went quickly to fire a shot on net at Lundqvist. Lundqvist would make the stop right as the Rangers power play was set to expire. This did not stop the ‘Canes offensive push which led Brett Howden to take his second penalty, being called this time for slashing. This would prove to be costly as Sebastian Aho scored the power play goal, having taken a beautiful three-point set up to do it. Assists on the goal came from from Svechnikov and Sami Vatanen.
After another string of minor penalties being put in by Haydn Fleury, Adam Fox, and Svechnikov, the Rangers offence put in a good effort to net their first of the day, scored by the team’s leader in goals, Mika Zibanejad. Ryan Lindgren would get credited with the only assist. The Rangers kept making offensive momentum that led to a tripping penalty from Sami Vatanen. In the final minutes of the second period, Strome was called for a hooking penalty while trying to stop an offensive conversion from the ‘Canes. While adding to his minutes on the day, that closed out the frame with 40 minutes now gone.
Heading into the this period, there was a very quick injury sustained to the face of Rangers centreman Filip Chytil. The player skated back to the bench shortly after being hit, but had no serious injuries. He would get quickly cleared and return to the game to finish things off. Possibly in retaliation, Gregg McKegg was called for a charging penalty, getting into a yelling match with multiple Hurricanes players. This of course was in follow up to a play he has made himself known for as a high contact player. Shortly after the power play expired, Carolina scored their third goal of the night with Martin Necas being credited with the goal. Assists on the play would be credited to Jaccob Slavin and Nino Niederiter.
New York then took the game’s final penalty with Tony DeAngelo going to the box for interference. This penalty, however, went on to not be costly for the New York Rangers as they scored a shorthanded goal to bring the matchup back to within one. The shorthanded goal was scored by Marc Staal with help from Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. With time quickly running out, the Rangers, back at full strength, pulled their goalie with the hopes of levelling the game while at the same time, forcing overtime. However, with only 30 seconds left on the clock, this proved to not be enough for them as the clock ran out and the game siren sounded. Carolina took the win, 3-2, giving them the first win in game one of the series.
This game could give the Hurricanes a boost of morale as they had, up to this point, been unable to beat the Rangers in any games this season. They also dropped their exhibition game on Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals. For the Rangers, an entirely different story could be true as they have now possibly lost Jesper Fast for the rest of the series as a result of an injury. Not only that, but they also showed a lack lustre power play unit while veteran legend Henrik Lundqvist also gave a truly below average showing.
Fans can expect the next game to take place on Monday at 12:00pmET in Toronto. Again, it will be played without fans at Scotiabank Arena as New York looks for redemption. Carolina will be the home team in their second game of the NHL play-in round. This game is available for viewing on Sportsnet Ontario, NHL.TV and NBC. While carried on WEPN radio, it can be seen in French on TVA Sports.