In a must-win Game 3 against Brady Skjei and the Hurricanes, the Rangers started strong. Unfortunately, David Quinn and his squad were unable to solve the Hurricanes, and the Blueshirts are the first team heading out of the playoff bubble.
Rangers and Hurricanes not a good one for NY
Chris Kreider – The veteran Rangers winger looked like a completely different player in this one. He hounded the puck, was aggressive in all three zones, and used his speed and quick release to his advantage. The 29-year-old winger got the Rangers on the board early in the second period, taking Jacob Trouba’s pass and darting up the wall before beating Reimer for the 1-0 lead.
After signing his contract extension this season, Kreider will be a guy that is leaned on heavily by the organization to be that veteran voice in the locker room, especially for players like Kaapo Kakko, Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren, and others.
Brendan Lemieux – After missing the first two games of the series due to a suspension, Lemieux re-entered the Rangers lineup and gave his team a bit of a jolt. The pesky forward had five shots on goal and was involved physically from the start. Lemieux is an RFA at season’s end, and it’ll be interesting to see what Jeff Gorton decides to do with the 24-year-old.
Tony DeAngelo – To be blunt, it was not a good series for the young defenseman. DeAngelo was on the ice for six of Carolina’s eleven goals in this series and was the victim of Sebastian Aho’s fantastic deke before the Finnish forward beat Igor Shesterkin on the backhand. DeAngelo certainly had a regular season to remember, but his playoff performance is one he might want to forget as soon as possible.
Igor Shesterkin – Despite missing the first two games of the series, the 24-year-old Russian was sharp in this crucial contest. Shesterkin made 27 saves on 30 Carolina shots, giving his team a chance to come back in the third period. Shesterkin has proven that he can be the number one goaltender of the Rangers for years to come.
A learning experience for the Rangers
A Learning Experience – The Rangers are a very young team, second youngest to qualify for the playoffs to be exact, and for many Blueshirts, this was their first experience of the NHL playoffs. The Rangers were not expected by many, yours truly included, to push for a playoff spot this year, but were doing just that before the coronavirus forced the league to suspend play for nearly five months. Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko, Filip Chytil, Ryan Lindgren, Igor Shesterkin, and others will be able to learn from their experiences against Carolina and use that going forward when the Rangers become a perennial playoff team once again.