‘Underdog’ Rangers favored over Hurricanes in 2nd-round staff predictions

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In many circles, including several Vegas oddsmakers, the New York Rangers enter the Eastern Conference Second Round as underdogs against the Carolina Hurricanes. That, despite having finished first overall in NHL standings this season, though only three points up on the Hurricanes and one on the Dallas Stars.

Really there’s no underdog nor clear favorite in this series. The Rangers and Hurricanes are about as evenly matched as top Stanley Cup contenders can be, making for a much-anticipated clash in this upcoming best-of-7 series.

Simply, this could shape up to be an epic playoff series.

So, how does the Forever Blueshirts staff see it all unfolding?

Related: Rangers vs. Hurricanes: schedule, results, TV info for 2nd-round series

Forever Blueshirts staff predictions for Rangers vs. Hurricanes 2nd-round series

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

With the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs starting up this weekend, the Forever Blueshirts staff takes a whack at predicting whether the Rangers or Hurricanes will win this best-of-7 battle.

Each staff member that participated in the first round correctly predicted that the Rangers would defeat the Capitals. Only FBS founder Anthony Scultore predicted the Rangers to sweep the Capitals, which they did.

Jim Cerny, Executive Editor

Picking a winner here is not easy. You know what’s more difficult? Picking the loser of this series. That’s how much respect I have for the Rangers and Hurricanes, who each have loaded lineups, highly-regarded coaches, great special teams and been at the top of their games for months. The Brett Pesce and Jesper Fast injuries dig in some to Carolina’s depth, though Pesce is expected back at some point in the series. One Rangers advantage is their ability to strike quickly, perhaps, as Dave Maloney said this week, not having to work as hard to score goals. The Hurricanes advantage is the “relentless pace” they play at. You can’t predict puck luck, officiating or injuries ahead of a series, but I do think Igor Shesterkin can be the difference here. Rangers in 7

Anthony Scultore, Founder

Although these two teams are evenly matched, and every fiber of my being says seven games, I believe the Rangers win this in short order. There’s something about the way the Rangers have approached this season that no matter who the opponent is or what the circumstances are, they’ll get it done. Ultimately, that’s a testament to coach Peter Laviolette, but these Rangers aren’t an overnight success. A run to the ECF in 2022, followed by a shocking first-round exit in 2023, should serve them well to make a serious Stanley Cup run in 2024. Rangers in 5

Conor Armstrong, Staff Writer

Over the past four seasons, the Rangers-Hurricanes rivalry has grown into one of the fiercest in all of hockey. They are arguably the two best teams in the League, with firepower up and down their respective lineups. With that said, I believe the Blueshirts have the advantage in one area, goaltending. Igor Shesterkin is playing some of the best hockey of his career, exactly when the Rangers need it most. This series is going to be a dog fight, but I like the Rangers chances to advance because No. 31 is No. 1 between the pipes. Rangers in 6

Matt Calamia, Staff Writer

I had chosen Carolina to win the Stanley Cup in our first postseason predictions, but I’m changing that. Despite making relatively quick work of the Islanders in Round One, they did not look like a powerhouse to be reckoned with. I think Igor Shesterkin is the difference in the series. Rangers in 6

Benjamin Lefkowitz, Staff Writer

Peter Laviolette won’t be looking back to reminisce about winning the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006, even when he lsees his former captain Rod Brind’Amour running Carolina’s bench in this series. In fact, the Rangers won’t even be looking back to their 2022 playoff win against the Hurricanes. It’s all about the here and now, and both squads are evenly matched in offense, defense, and special teams. This will be a tight series, but the one advantage between the teams is who has the most important player on the ice. Igor Shesterkin will outshine Frederik Andersen between the pipes to propel the Rangers to the Eastern Conference Final. Rangers in 7 

Dane Walsh, Staff Writer

I think this sets up to be one of the best series of the entire playoffs. Despite the Rangers being tabbed as underdogs, these two teams are so evenly matched, so strong in their own ways. I think in the end, New York finds a way to defeat Carolina’s man-on-man style of play. I think their movement in the offensive zone that they displayed in Round 1 will be too much for the Hurricanes to handle. Another distinct advantage for New York is Igor Shesterkin. Frederik Andersen has been great for Carolina, but Igor has been lights out over his last several playoff series, especially on home ice. If Shesterkin can stay hot, and the Rangers’ special teams remain on a roll, they’re going to surprise a lot of people.  Given the home-ice advantage, I think the Rangers take Round 2 and advance to the Eastern Conference Final. Rangers in 7

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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