The Three Major Threats to the New York Rangers Stanley Cup Ambitions and Aspirations

Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after
Mar 23, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Florida Panthers center Sam Reinhart (13) circles back after / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Hurricanes

Stay in the division; the Carolina Hurricanes are a significant threat to the Blushirts. If we take the Rangers out of the conversation, the Hurricanes are the hands-down favorite for the cup out of the Eastern Conference. They are one of the most balanced teams in the NHL and are red-hot. They've got everything you want to see from a Stanley Cup contender, and it's terrifying for the Rangers, who will likely have to go through them in the postseason.

When it comes to defense, the Carolina Hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with. The likes of Jaccob Slavin, Dmitry Orlov, Brent Burns, Tarrytown native Brett Pesce, former Ranger Brady Skjei, and Anthony DeAngelo form one of the most formidable defensive groups in the league. This group has the potential to single-handedly dominate a game, making the rest of the roster almost irrelevant. Their defensive prowess is a key factor in the Hurricanes' threat level as a Stanley Cup contender.

Addressing a long-standing issue, the Carolina Hurricanes have significantly bolstered their offensive capabilities. They've made key additions with Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Kuznetsov, who join a breakout season from Seth Jarvis. This enhances the offensive potential of a group that already includes Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen, and Sebastian Aho. The bottom six is fortified with Selke nominees Jordan Staal, Jordan Martinook, former Ranger Jesper Fast, and former third overall pick Jesperi Kotkaniemi. This depth in offense makes the Hurricanes a formidable force to contend with.

However, early in the season, they had some questions in goal. Former Ranger Antti Raanta struggled, and young netminder Pyotr Kochetkov needed to be more consistent. There were also question marks about their starter, Frederik Andersen, who was missing due to a blood clotting issue. Now, Andersen is back and playing like a brick wall. Kochetkov figured out his issues, and goaltending became a strength of the Hurricanes. They can go toe-to-toe with the Rangers in a series. That'll be a perfect watch since this is a round-two matchup.

Now, Carolina has an awful record at Madison Square Garden. With four wins in the last thirteen years at the Garden, New York has the advantage since they will have home ice when these two teams collide. If the Rangers can win the division, it'll likely be enough to see them past the Hurricanes safely. The Garden is a sanctuary where many teams fail to overcome the iconic Blueshirt. Carolina suffers more from the bright lights of Broadway than most.