Carolina’s Offensive Tactics and Rangers’ Defensive Grit:
Carolina’s game plan when they’re in the offensive zone is pretty straightforward: throw pucks at the net, hustle to win the puck back, and then do it all over again.
When they win an offensive faceoff, things get interesting. The wingers on the left and the center crash the net, creating a double screen in front of the goalie. Meanwhile, the right winger gets in there to help win the puck and pass it over to the right defenseman. That defenseman then strolls down the wall and fires a shot from the outside, hoping to get it toward the net. On the flip side, the left defenseman sneaks down the weak side, ready to pounce on any rebounds in the left corner. It’s a dance of strategy and teamwork.
When they’re regrouping in the neutral zone, Carolina usually plays to their strength – their aggressive forecheck. It starts with a pass from one defenseman to another (D-to-D), and then they move it up the ice. The third forward in line usually tips the puck into the offensive zone, setting the stage for their teammates to go to work.
Yet what stifled New York the most was Rod Brind’Amour’s 1-2-2 forecheck. The Hurricanes applied pressure at the red line, removing the middle of the ice and shutting down their attempts at those fancy east-west passes. The Rangers had two options left: either dump the puck and chase it or try to get it out along the boards. That second period felt like a classic Carolina game. They dominated while New York was shorthanded.
Yet Trocheck saved the day, stopping a puck that had hit the crossbar and was about to sneak over the goal line. He pushed it back into Shesterkin just in time. The Canes outshot the Rangers 9-3 in that second period, and it could’ve been worse. Thankfully, the Blurshirts blocked 15 shots in those first 40 minutes. It was a defensive effort to remember!