Three Keys to the New York Rangers Defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in Round Two

Mar 12, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (52)
Mar 12, 2024; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov (52) / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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Even-Strength Play

During the series against the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers had issues during even-strength play. After game one, the Rangers were outscored at even strength and rode their special teams to a series win. While that will work against a team that just squeaked into the playoffs, like the Washington Capitals, there is a lot more rigidity to the Carolina Hurricanes and their man-on-man system that is so effective. 

New York must find a way to improve when penalty boxes are empty. It won't be easy, and there is a reason that this opposition is where it is. Rod Brind'amour's system suffocates time and space and forces players to make decisions quickly. It's effective at cutting off the time and space of star players, which is concerning for a team led by Artemi Panarin through the highs and lows of the season. 

Knowing this is coming, Peter Laviolette has had his men run through walls to anticipate what is coming with this aggressive Carolina system. It's different from anything else in the NHL and will present unique challenges that New York won't face, even if they progress to the Stanley Cup Finals. No one else deploys this aggressive man-on-man system, but its track record in the playoffs is poor because of how perfect the players must be. 

New York must keep this aggressive system manageable. If Carolina can dominate the even-strength play, this series will be an uphill struggle for the Rangers. Knowing that the Blueshirts already have an issue with playing at 5-on-5, it's a highly concerning combination. In 2022, the Rangers rode Shesterkin to a series victory in 7 games, but the Hurricanes are much more dangerous now than they were two years ago.