Eliminating teams in 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs no easy task

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers are looking to eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series on Thursday. They’ve learned what so many teams have already in these Stanley Cup Playoffs, that ending someone’s season is no walk in the park.

To date, teams facing elimination are 10-6 when you exclude Game 7s. In contrast, they were just 9-11 all of last postseason, with only four out of the possible 15 series going the distance. Thus far, two series have gone to seven games in just the opening round.

“The fourth [win] is hard,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said Wednesday. “Putting teams away is something you know is going to be a good battle because they’re playing for their lives. That’s the nature of human beings. When you’re fighting for your life, you’re really digging in. In order to get that fourth win, you have to make sure your game is on point.”

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Elimination not easy in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This is now the third attempt by the Rangers to close out Carolina after sweeping the Washington Capitals with relative ease in the first round. Only two other teams have been able to eliminate an opponent on their first attempt. The Edmonton Oilers (vs Los Angeles Kings) and the Colorado Avalanche (vs Winnipeg Jets) both ended their opening round series in Game 5 up 3-1.

Otherwise, every team that advanced into round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs required multiple attempts to win their respective series. That includes the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars, who were forced into Game 7 situations by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights respectively.

By the way, the Rangers aren’t the only team unable to close out their second round foes. On Tuesday, the Bruins staved off elimination by beating the Florida Panthers 2-1 in Game 5. Meanwhile, the Avalanche came up big in their own Game 5 on Wednesday with a 5-3 victory to stop the Stars from advancing.

Ultimately, it will come down to a full team effort to get by in this parity-filled NHL playoffs. It’s a point the Rangers fully appear to grasp looking to be the first team to advance to a Conference Final.

“There are so many guys here that have stepped up at different points, now it’s time for everyone to be pulling on the same rope,” Rangers captain Jacob Trouba said Wednesday. “It’s going to take all of us.”

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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