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What We Expected (and Didn’t Expect) within the Rangers-Hurricanes Game

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There have been some clear expectations going into Game 1 of the second round series between the Rangers and the Carolina Hurricanes. And in some ways, the 2-1 time beyond regulation victory by Carolina on Wednesday developed as foreseen. But it surely also threw up some surprises. Here’s the way it played out.

Carolina just accomplished a 4-3 series win over the Boston Bruins. All seven games were won by the house team. The Hurricanes were 29-8-4 at home within the regular season. They were also favored in Wednesday’s game — with odds of around 1-2 — and favored within the series.

Carolina is the highest seed from the Metropolitan Division, however the Rangers finished just 6 points behind. Carolina was coming off a one-goal Game 7 victory over the Bruins, and the Rangers won three in a row to rally past the Pittsburgh Penguins, by two goals, two goals and one goal (in time beyond regulation).

The Hurricanes and the Rangers had the league’s stingiest defenses, ending 1-2 in goals against.

Igor Shesterkin of the Rangers was the league’s best goalie this season. He was pulled from two games that got out of hand within the Penguins series, however the team kept the religion, and he had 99 saves in last three games.

Antti Raanta, who has been starting for Carolina because Frederik Andersen is out with an injury, also got here up big in the sport.

“Yeah, we’d have liked to attain more goals,” said Mika Zibanejad of the Rangers. “We did a variety of good things. We get those probabilities again, I’m sure we’ll rating a pair more.”

In contrast, the opposite series that began Wednesday was a rollicking 9-6 win for the Calgary Flames over the Edmonton Oilers.

It was the Recent Yorkers who were downcast afterward, however the Rangers actually played the Hurricanes off the ice for much of the sport.

Despite winning their previous series, the Rangers were outshot by the Penguins, 310-269 (and outscored as well). Most figured that they might be outshot by the Hurricanes as well, counting on efficient shooting and their crack goalie Shesterkin to remain within the series.

However the Rangers outshot the Hurricanes, 28-26. And that stat doesn’t tell the entire story, because the Rangers were dominating for 2 periods. “The primary two periods was perfect hockey for us,” said Coach Gerard Gallant. “We didn’t spend a variety of time in our zone. We got pucks out. We had real good offensive probabilities and didn’t capitalize on all of them. But I believed it was their best game of the 12 months, I actually did.”

Coach Rod Brind’amour of the Hurricanes agreed: “For 2 periods, they were the higher team, absolute confidence.”

Whether it was tweaks to the lineups, a greater mentality or just changing fortunes, the Hurricanes looked like a special team within the third period. Suddenly it was Carolina taking the majority of the shots and the Rangers who struggled to get out of their very own end. After a few Carolina shots off the post, Sebastian Aho tied the sport with 2 minutes 23 seconds to go on a rebound of his own saved shot.

The time beyond regulation game winner at 3:12 was a shot from distance by the veteran Ian Cole that deflected off a Ranger stick. Cole had two goals all season and only 29 in his 12-year profession.

“That’s what great about this game,” Brind’amour said. “You simply don’t know who’s going to be the guy.”

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