Alexis Lafreniere Playoff Presence Materializing, Key Factor In Teams Championship Aspirations

The New York Rangers' 22-year-old forward adds another dimension of offense to the club's dangerous top six.
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One
Carolina Hurricanes v New York Rangers - Game One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Alexis Lafreniere recorded two goals on Tuesday, helping the Rangers to a 2-0 series lead over the Carolina Hurricanes.

This was against the team that eliminated the Blueshirts in 2020, putting them in a position to land the junior phenom.

His breakout performance occurred on the same night as the NHL Draft Lottery show, the program preceding the contest.

Coming into the game, the 22-year-old scored two career playoff goals in 32 career playoff games. Both goals came in the 2022 ECQF against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would not score in the ECSF against the Hurricanes or in the ECF against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Quebec native's drought continued when he did not record a point in seven games against the Devils in the 2023 ECQF loss.

In the Rangers' undefeated run this spring, he has recorded seven points (two goals, five assists) in six games played, tying Panarin for third on the team in points.

With Chris Kreider (six points) and Mika Zibanejad (eight points) finding their top gear, and his linemates Trocheck (10 points) and Panarin (seven points) continuing their world domination, Lafreniere may be the additional scorer the Rangers need to get over the hump.

Every team in the second round has a handful of offensive players who have the skills to pay the bills.

The Rangers have five, not to mention depth scoring that has also chipped in outside of their responsibilities of penalty killing and playing in matchup-based situations.

The Hurricanes' top goal scorers are Seth Jarvis (four goals) followed by grinder Stefen Noesen and deadline acquisition Jake Guentzel who each have scored three goals.

Those numbers are overshadowed by the totals from the Rangers as well as the Panthers and Bruins, who each have five skaters with four goals.

If Lafreniere can build off of his performance in game two, that puts the Rangers into a similar stat category with five skaters recording at least three goals.

His elevation in play in the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs piggybacks off of his most complete NHL campaign. Lafreniere recorded 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists) skating on a line with Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin.

They finished the season as one of the best five-on-five scoring trios in the NHL, scoring a combined 46 goals in 64 games played.