Revisiting Rangers-Hurricanes season series ahead of 2nd-round clash

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The stage is set for the Eastern Conference Second Round when the New York Rangers face off against the Carolina Hurricanes. New York came out on top in the regular-season series, two games to one. The Rangers and Hurricanes will now meet in a best-of-7 series with a trip to the Eastern Conference Final on the line.

The Rangers were outscored 7-4 in the season series. They had three different goal scorers in the three games. Chris Kreider registered two goals, and Will Cuylle and Adam Fox each had one.

Carolina had two goals from Andrei Svechnikov, while Seth Jarvis, Jack Drury, Jordan Martinook, Michael Bunting and Jalen Chatfield each had one.

Igor Shesterkin played all three games against the Hurricanes. The Rangers goalie had a 2-1-0 record along with a .904 save percentage and 2.66 goals-against average.

For Carolina, Frederik Andersen played in the first meeting. He made 26 saves and let up two goals for a .923 save percentage in the 2-1 New York victory. Pyotr Kochetkov played the final two games after Andersen was diagnosed with a blood clot issue, and was 1-1-0. Kochetkov registered an impressive .962 save percentage with a 1.00 GAA.

Related: Rangers vs. Hurricanes history in Stanley Cup Playoffs

Highs & lows for Rangers in season series against Hurricanes

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The first meeting between these two teams on Nov. 2 was a tight contest. Kreider opened up the scoring for New York on the power play, but Jarvis and the Hurricanes responded with a power-play goal of their own. The score remained tied into the third period. Cuylle ended up the hero for New York, scoring the game-winning goal in the final frame.

The story of the game, however, were injuries to three key Rangers. Filip Chytil sustained an upper-body injury believed to be a concussion. He hasn’t played since, though has been practicing with the Rangers again for about three weeks. Adam Fox went down with a leg injury after a knee-on-knee hit by Carolina’s Sebastian Aho, forcing him to miss 10 games. And Shesterkin came out of the contest banged up, in need of some time off.

New York came into the second match on Jan. 2 looking to avenge their injured teammates, but the game was a Hurricanes blowout. Drury and Svechnikov tallied goals to end the first period, putting Carolina up by two. Kreider cut the lead in half, but it was all Hurricanes from that point out.

Carolina would go on to score four straight goals on their way to a commanding 6-1 win at Madison Square Garden. It was the start of the worst month of the season for the Rangers, as they struggled throughout January.

The final meeting of the season for these clubs on March 12 was a much different story. In an intense playoff-like atmosphere in Raleigh, each team played near air-tight defense and the competition for puck possession was fierce in all 200 feet of the ice. Fox scored in the first period, which would stand as the only goal in a 1-0 Rangers win.

Shesterkin was lights out, making 28 saves and earning the shutout. It was an impressive road performance for New York, which came during a tough slate of games in the month of March against several upper-echelon teams.

Many are already tabbing the Rangers as the underdog, even though they finished three points up on the Hurricanes in the standings and won the Presidents’ Trophy as the best team in the NHL during the 2023-24 regular season. Prior to the start of the playoffs, Vegas Insider gave the Hurricanes the best odds of winning the Stanley Cup at +650, while the Rangers were close behind at +800.

Though taking two of three this season against the Hurricanes was impressive, it’s in the past for Rangers coach Peter Laviolette and his team. The Rangers are looking forward not behind and are bracing for what should be an epic series pitting two of the best teams in the NHL.

Dane Walsh is a life-long fan of the New York Rangers. Growing up in the tri-state area, Dane has... More about Dane Walsh

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