Rangers/Hurricanes Matchup: Goaltending gives Rangers a big advantage

Goaltending wins in the playoffs. A hot goalie can steal a series, steal a conference, or even steal a Stanley Cup. Goaltending is the ultimate wild card, and the Rangers have arguably the best goaltending trio in the playoffs this season. Igor Shesterkin will be the Rangers playoff goalie, which is already an advantage, but the depth goes far beyond him.

One interesting aspect of this year’s playoffs is how quickly a series can change. Shesterkin is clearly the best goalie on the roster right now, but all three are capable of stealing a series. When it comes to the starters, he’s miles ahead of whatever the Hurricanes trot out there. Their options are either James Reimer or Petr Mrazek. Decent options, one can get hot and complement this skilled team, but it is definitely their Achilles heel.

Funny enough, goalie is the one place that the Rangers have great depth. Yet it’s also the one place where if you’re forced to use it, you’re in a bad spot. The only way Henrik Lundqvist, capable of being lights out, plays is if Shesterkin doesn’t look good in Game 1. At that point, the Rangers are probably losing the game and putting themselves in a hole for the five game series.

The Rangers have a major goalie edge in the playoffs, something they’ve had since 2005. This year, it’s Igor Shesterkin that will need to cover for his team. If Shesterkin steals games, the Rangers can make noise. Like top line scoring, goaltending is a critical success factor for the Rangers. If the Rangers need to go to their goaltending depth, then it may already be too late.

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    • PP1 is this teams best threat other than goaltending… What fans around here aren’t privy to is how well Carolina can PK.

      Nino, Staal and Aho can out muscle and can easily play keep away from Fox, ADA and Trouba. It will only get worst if the PP2 guys like Buch and Chytil are trying to defend while on the man advantage. Quinn should put Fast on that unit to play it safe.

      Aho and Staal can shutdown and still be 5v5 threats. Vinny T line will be able to burn either of our bottom 6 lines. NYR PP will be key and will hopefully give Ignor a 2 min break.

  • The Rangers have a major goalie advantage because they likely have the best goalie in hockey, maybe even the best ever though only time will tell.

    However, they do not really have depth. The Canes have one or two goalies better than Georgiev and Georgiev won’t even get to dress, so he doesn’t matter. As for Lundqvist, well, there are 46 goalies in Toronto and I would not bet that Hank is in the top 45.

    Year after year, Hank leads the league in high danger shots allowed and that skill was on display Wednesday. Without fans, a goalie who doesn’t help his defenders is even more of a disadvantage because a real goalie can do even more in that environment.

    As for the past, well Lundqvist lost to Ottawa in 2017, the Rangers didn’t. Raanta wins that series. And just maybe Talbot could have won back to back Cups, we’ll never know.

    Henrik Lundqvist has only ever had one skill – and yes it is the most important skill but still only one. Now that he is merely good at stopping shots instead of awesome, he is poor. IMO Berube is the third best Ranger tender and half the people here did not even know he was an option.

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