The Rangers and Hurricanes kicked off the NHL’s return to play earlier this afternoon. After the Rangers swept the regular season series, the Hurricanes pulled out their first victory against the blueshirts in a 3-2 win. Jaccob Slavin opened the scoring early as he got the first shot of the game passed Lundqvist just a little over a minute into the game. The big story line however was that it was Henrik Lundqvist in net instead of Igor Sheshterkin. Sheshterkin was deemed “unfit to play” which caused some speculation about the Russian’s absence.
In a last-minute twist, Igor Shesterkin was declared "unfit to play" and Henrik Lundqvist was announced as the #NYR starter for Game 1.
How's that for drama? https://t.co/iHj8Arz2nk
— Vince Z. Mercogliano (@vzmercogliano) August 1, 2020
What went wrong for the Rangers?
The Rangers were one of the hottest teams in the NHL when the league went on pause. The Hurricanes were one of two teams to vote against the 24-team playoff along with the Lightning. Based on game 1, the Hurricanes have nothing to fear. The Rangers could not get any offense going in the first period. They had a lot of trouble getting out of their own zone. In addition, their power-play struggled immensely.
The Rangers put up a goose egg on the power-play and that hurt them badly. They had a ton of chances to capitalize on the man advantage but could not put the puck in the back of the net. Overall, it was a very physical game, especially in the first period. There were a ton of open ice hits and a fight between Ryan Strome and Justin Williams. The playoff intensity was certainly there even without the fans.
It was certainly a tough game to watch as a Rangers fan. We did not spend a lot of time in the offensive zone early in the game, and when we had the opportunity, could not convert on the PP. If the Rangers want to have a chance to win this series, they are going to need more out of their top 6, and they need to convert when up a man. Lundqvist played well; it will be interesting to see what David Quinn decides to do for game 2 on Monday. Igor should be good to go, so we will have to wait and see what the young coach decides to do. Overall, I’m just happy hockey is back. It was good to see the boys back out on the ice. Regardless of how this series plays out, it will be good experience for a very young Rangers team.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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