The NY Rangers did not have the prettiest of wins, but games against the Carolina Hurricanes are rarely pretty. Two points is 2 points, and splitting the home and home was expected. The top end talent for the Rangers was the difference in the game, burying their limiting chances. Igor Shesterkin showed he has returned, stopping 29 of 30 and saving the Rangers from themselves in the first period. Star power proved the difference maker again.
The first period was a disaster for the Rangers, with no even strength shot attempts and only 3 shots on goal through the entire period, including a length 5 on 3 powerplay. The game at times looked bleak, as there just wasn’t any room to maneuver and make plays. What Carolina might lack in high end players, they make up for in systems and tactics. They get lots of shots and you just have to be on your toes with the and hope for a counter attack. The Rangers found a way to ‘just win baby,’ but it is certainly not a sustainable formula.
First periods have been a problem for the Rangers as much as second and third periods are when they show signs of life. Perhaps this is just the star power adjusting mid-game. Or it’s just the Rangers need some time to wake up. It’s frustrating during these games, and the fear is it will continue in the playoffs.
A little tongue in cheek, but is Vladimir Tarasenko the best deadline acquisition in the last decade of Rangers hockey? With 14 points in 21 games, Tarasenko has fit like a glove with the Rangers. He is built for the New York market. It makes me giddy at the thought of him, Mika Zibanejad, and Artemi Panarin, if they stick as a trio, scoring big goals in the playoffs.
Speaking of Panarin, is this the version we will get in the playoffs? If so, then watch out. Game 7 winner aside, Panarin was rather pedestrian in last year’s playoffs. Maybe he was hurt. Maybe Ryan Strome was hurt. We don’t know. A reinvigorated Panarin to go with the 5 other stars on this team is dangerous, and the star power for the Rangers will make or break them, like they did last night.